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Both Sides Vow Restraint of Border Violence

The prime ministers of Thailand and Cambodia agreed during talks in Beijing Friday to prevent further border violence between soldiers on both sides, while military commanders in Siem Reap failed to reach an agreement on withdrawal.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Friday the results from Beijing and Siem Reap were similar.

“Both sides agreed to avoid conflict and maintain peace,” he said, adding that he hoped the countries would move away from armed confrontation and toward more friendly talks.

Prime Minsiter Hun Sen met with his Thai counterpart, Somchai Wongsawat, Friday morning, on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe Meeting.

Both leaders agreed to avoid further conflicts in a months-long border dispute, following a flash of violence last week in three gun battles near Preah Vihear temple, leading to the death of at least three Cambodian soldiers and one Thai.

"The two sides have to advise our troops not to have confrontations any longer," Agence France-Presse quoted Thai Foreign Minister Sompong Amornviwat saying after the prime ministers spoke.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said both sides were “moving in a good track,” AFP reported.

In Siem Reap, commanders for Cambodia’s Military Region 4 and Thailand’s Military Region 2 met for the 11th round of Regional Border Committee talks.

“Both sides agreed to exercise utmost restraint in order to avoid confrontation or armed clashes, as have previously occurred,” the Thai Regional Border Committee said in a statement following Friday’s talks.

Neither meeting produced a substantial timetable for the withdrawal of heavily armed troops that have been deployed along the border since July.

Any negotiation on disputed border land had to meet the approval of Thailand’s parliament, which was scheduled to deliberate on the issues Oct. 28, the committee said. “Therefore, it was hoped that negotiation will take place soon.”

Thun Saray, president of Adhoc, welcomed the negotiations, but he appealed to the Thai side to respect the results of the meetings. Even though both sides have promised to avoid confrontation, Thailand continues to build up troops along the border, he said.