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‘Same Positions’ at Temple Following Talks

Soldiers had not moved from their positions near Preah Vihear temple Friday, two days after tentative agreements by Thai and Cambodian officials to withdraw troops from a disputed pagoda on the border.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and his counterpart, Sompong Amornvivat agreed in Siem Reap Wednesdday to withdraw soldiers from Keo Sikha Kiri Svara pagoda and from positions surrounding it.

However, Maj. Gen. Srey Douk, commander of Intervention Division 12, based in Preah Vihear, said that following the meetings in Siem Reap, Thai soldiers remain in and around the pagoda.

"It seems like the Thai forces have kept the same positions before and after the meeting," he said.

Cambodian forces "did not have an order yet from the higher-ups" to withdraw, he said.

Var Kimhong, chairman of Cambodia's national border committee, could not confirm whether soldiers would be withdrawn.

"We haven't set a specific date when to withdraw," he said.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Friday that following Wednesday's meeting, Thailand should send documentation to its parliament, in order to adopt the agreements.

Preah Vihear temple and the nearby pagoda remain at the heart of a months-long border dispute that has led to at least two armed clashes and the deaths of at least four soldiers.