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Minister to Meet UN Council Over Standoff

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong will travel to New York on Friday in hopes of meeting with the UN Security Council to resolve a continued military standoff with Thailand.

"We will report to the UN Security Council about the Preah Vihear crisis," he told VOA Khmer Wednesday.

A meeting with the 15 members of the Security Council could take place as early as Monday or Tuesday, Hor Namhong said.

Cambodia has pushed for Asean and Unesco intervention in the alleged incursion of Thai troops in the disputed border area of Banthey Meanchey province.

As many as 4,000 troops from both sides have amassed on the border since July 15, and officials have warned that the longer they remain, the more chance for violence.

"We hope that after the meeting, the UN will be able to find a good solution between both sides, Cambodia and Thailand," Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said.

"Cambodia has already won by diplomacy, the rule of law and politics," Hor Namhong said.

"The Thai act along the border at Preah Vihear was a cowardly act," he said. "If we did not have patience with the Thai act, it would have opened a war on the border."

Thais were teaching villagers military tactics and arming people along the border Wednesday, Hor Namhong said.

Thailand continued to move troops, tanks and artillery to the border, Hor Namhong said.

They had deployed troops 3 kilometers from Preah Vihear and 200 meters from the Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda, he said.

Thai Embassy officials declined to comment on any border activities Wednesday.

Defense Minister Tea Banh could not confirm the number of troops on both sides, but said Cambodia had enough soldiers to defend itself in case Thai soldiers "open fire."

Soldiers on both sides remained calm Wednesday, with no reports of arguments or gun-pointing, he said.