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US Official Warns Against Border Violence


US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte warned Thailand and Cambodia against border violence in a continued military standoff, saying bilateral negotiations were the best way to resolve the crisis.

"We think that [bilateral negotiation] is the most effective way of dealing with this problem," Negroponte said, following a three-day visit to Cambodia this week. "And we think it's important that the use of force or coercion has to be avoided at all costs, because that would risk undermining some of the progress that has been achieved in the region in terms of peaceful economic development."

Prime Minister Hun Sen has said he will approach the UN Security Council and other multilateral avenues to solve a continued military standoff that began in July.

The visit of Negroponte, who is the second-highest ranking official in the US State Department, capped several years of warming relations between the two countries.

Negroponte said the inclusion of an FBI team in the investigation of slain opposition journalist Khim Sambor was another "positive" step.

"I think it's a welcome development, and we want to be as helpful as we can," he said.

Khim Sambor was shot dead with his son in Phnom Penh in July, just two weeks ahead of national elections. He is the 12th journalist to be murdered since 1993, and his killers have not been found.

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