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Thailand Denies Compensation in Border Row

Thailand is unwilling to solve an ongoing border dispute near the Preah Vihear temple, a government spokesman said Wednesday, following Thailand’s refusal to pay more than $2 million after allegedly destroying homes and businesses in April fighting.

The Cambodian Foreign Ministry sent an official request for compensation on Monday, claiming Thai shelling had leveled 264 stores and 319 homes near the entrance to the 900-year-old temple.

Rejecting Cambodia’s claim Wednesday, Thai Foreign Ministry spokesman Tharith Charungvat said the area destroyed belonged to Thailand and any suits would have to be filed through Thai courts.

Thai Embassy officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

“It means that Thailand does not have the will to settle either the border problem or the question of compensation,” government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said, adding that Cambodia would continue to push Thailand to resolve outstanding disputes.

Hundreds of soldiers and accompanying arsenals from both sides have been amassed along the border since the row began in July 2008, sparked by the inclusion of Preah Vihear temple on a Unesco World Heritage listing.

Small-arms skirmishes, including rocket fire, ensued in October 2008 and April 2009, killing at least three Cambodians and three Thais.

Khieu Khanarith said the Thais intentionally fired on civilian structures in April, a breach of international law.