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Border Talks To Resume in New Year

Cambodian officials expect border talks with Thailand to resume soon into the new year, following the swearing in of a new cabinet and parliament after months of political unrest.

"We have received information from the Thai side that they will proceed with what we have agreed on in Siem Reap in the coming month,"said Var Kimhong, head of the Cambodian Border Committee.

Cambodian and Thai soldiers remain in a standoff over a strip of contested border in the Preah Vihear temple area, with at least three soldiers dying in skirmishes earlier this year.

Negotiations can resume following approval by the Thai parliament, Var Kimhong said, adding that December discussions were canceled due to political unrest in Thailand.

Cambodia and Thailand remain at odds over which map to use for demarcation. The Cambodian position follows demarcation by a French Indochina survey in 1904 and 1907, but Thailand follows a newer map.

Both sides deployed soldiers along the border following the July arrests of Thai protesters angered by the inclusion of Preah Vihear temple under Cambodian patronage on Unesco's list of World Heritage sites. The temple's World Heritage status stirred nationalist fervor on both sides and coincided with mass demonstrations in Thailand that ultimately toppled the government.

Thai news agencies quoted the new foreign minister, Kasit Piroya,saying it was the intent of the new administration to cooperate with Cambodia and Unesco and not change previously agreed upon solutions to the ongoing standoff.

Critics of the negotiations have called on Cambodia to abandonbilateral talks in favor of regional of international discussion.