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Asean Border Mission for Ceasefire Only: Cambodia

A Cambodian army soldier takes photographs of the damaged section of Cambodia's famed Preah Vihear temple, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cambodian officials say an Asean observer mission to the Thai border will only seek to regulate a ceasefire and will not be involved in solving outstanding border issues that have plagued both sides and led to deadly violence.

An observer mission from Indonesia, the current head of Asean, hopes to put teams on both sides of the disputed border area once both sides agree to the terms of the mission.

Var Kimhong, head of Cambodia’s Border Committee, told VOA Khmer Tuesday that the mission would be in place to enforce a voluntary ceasefire agreed to by both sides in the wake of deadly clashes in February.

The underpinning dispute over ownership of land near the border is a separate issue, he said.

While Thailand is still considering the terms of reference for the mission, Var Kimhong said Cambodia has already elected 15 different sites for the border monitors. “There is nothing to conceal,” he said.

Meanwhile, Thai and Cambodian officials have yet to fully agree on an upcoming meeting, which Indonesia wants to host later this month or early in April.

The Bangkok Post quoted a Thai military official as saying military members of Thailand’s General Border Committee are insisting on bilateral talks.

Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh told VOA Khmer he was waiting to hear whether he will meet his Thai counterpart in an Indonesian meeting.