As the Preah Vihear military standoff continued Thursday, Cambodian soldiers said they were happy to have at least a few
comforts at their posts.
Entrenched high on an escarpment overlooking the Preah Vihear
planes, and sometimes just meters away from Thai troops, the soldiers said they
were happy for solar-powered lamps sent by Prime Minister Hun Sen, and for
donations that have come in from Cambodian celebrities and others.
soldiers are happy with the lights, and "we can use them for i-com or to charge
mobile phones," said Maj. Gen. Srey Doeuk, commander of the
intervention unit of Military Division 12, which is securing Preah Vihear
The lights have made patrols easier as well, he said.
Soldiers received donations every day from the government
and NGOs, including fresh water, soy sauce and canned fish. Some people have
even donated tents, he said.
The soldiers have enough to eat, he said, and seem to be
"strong." No one had a serious illness, though some of the soldiers
have headaches and the flu, he said.
Sath Samy, an undersecretary at the Ministry of Mines and
Industry, said 30 poles with solar-powered lamps had been installed around
Preah Vihear temple, but 50 more were needed.
The foreign ministers of Thailand
are scheduled for talks Aug. 18 to help resolve the crisis, which began July 15
after Preah Vihear temple was granted World Heritage status.
Thousands of troops have been posted on the border for the
past three weeks, but no violence has been reported.
Two rounds of bilateral talks have so far failed to diffuse
the standoff, and Cambodia
has a request for discussion of the crisis at the UN Security Council, pending
the outcome of this month's talks.