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Sides to Resume Temple Talks: Hun Sen


Cambodia and Thailand plan to hold bilateral talks Aug. 18 to discuss the continued military stand-off at Preah Vihear temple, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday.

In a three-hour public speech, his first since the national election, Hun Sen said Cambodians were "lucky" to have him as prime minister in the crisis. Another prime minister would have led to the country to war, he said.

Hun Sen warned Cambodians not to discriminate against Thai products over the border feud, saying instead the countries were working together to "narrow" the problems and "expand" the relationship.

The border row, which began July 15, sparked latent nationalism on both sides, and following a build-up of troops a pamphlet circulated in Cambodian markets calling for a boycott on Thai goods.

Similar nationalist fervor in 2003 led to the burning of the Thai Embassy and the sacking of many Thai businesses in Phnom Penh.

However, officials say the situation on the border has remained calm, with soldiers often mingling together, despite fortified positions and the deployment of artillery, rockets and armored personnel carriers.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Aug. 18 talks would be held at a resort in Thailand.

Thailand has promised to remove troops from the conflict area next week, spokesman Sin Buntheoun said.

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