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Border Delegation Leaves for Thailand

Twenty-six Cambodian delegates left for Bangkok Monday to resume stalled border talks following months of political unrest in Thailand.

Thousands of Thai and Cambodian troops have been deployed to the border since July, when long-simmering border disputes ignited after the announcement of Preah Vihear temple as a Cambodian World Heritage.

“We are leaving today for the issue, and we start negotiating on Feb. 3 and 4,” said Var Kimhong, the chief of Cambodia’s border committee.

Cambodia and Thailand remain at odds over maps to demarcate the borders. Cambodia uses a map from the French colonial period, but Thailand recognizes one from the 1960s.

Border talks were dogged by anti-government protests in Bangkok throughout 2008, which deadlocked the administration. Thai border negotiators must have approval of the Cabinet and National Assembly.

Meanwhile, a series of skirmishes between Thai and Cambodian troops have led to at least one death. Military officials said Monday the situation was calm.

Var Kimhong said that if the two sides can agree on a map, a border agreement can be reached during the two days of talks.

“I think we’re hopeful,” he said. “That’s why we’re going, because [the Thai side] wanted us to go as soon as possible, and we accepted.”