The security situation along the disputed border at Preah
Vihear temple is "worsening," Prime Minister Hun Sen said in a letter
to his Thai counterpart Thursday, as troop levels on both sides increased.
More than 400 Thai soldiers and 800 Cambodian soldiers are
now deployed along the border, following the arrest of three Thai protesters at
Preah Vihear temple and the alleged incursion of more than 40 Thai troops at a pagoda claimed by Cambodia,
government spokesman Khieu Kanharith told reporters Thursday.
Hun Sen said in his letter to Prime Minister Samak
Sundaravej Thursday the number of increased troops near Keo Sikha Kiri Svara
pagoda, near Preah Vihear temple, meant "the situation is worsening."
"The deteriorating situation is very bad for the
relations between our two countries, and, therefore, I would like to ask Your
Excellency to take measures to ease the tensions and order the Thai troops to
withdraw from the area," he wrote.
The border is disputed by both countries on the land
surrounding the cliff-top temple, which was added to Unesco's World Heritage
list on July 7 and is claimed by Cambodia.
The World Heritage inscription was cause for celebration in Cambodia, but it sparked protests in Thailand, leading to the resignation of Thailand's
foreign minister and closure of the entrance to the temple on the Thai side.
As the leaders of the two nations communicated Thursday, the
actual situation on the border was quiet, and troops there said they have
been ordered not to fire on the Thais unless fired upon first.
have meanwhile agreed to a special meeting July 21 over tensions along the
border, in "a spirit of neighborliness," according to a Thai Foreign
"In the meantime, the armed forces of both sides are in
close contact," the statement said.
Cambodia Defense Minister Tea Banh told VOA Khmer Wednesday
the situation can be resolved through negotiation.