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Border Clashes Spread as Leaders Talk of Ceasefire

A Cambodian Buddhist monk watches a house damaged by a rocket during Monday night's armed clash near the disputed border area between Cambodia and Thailand in Kork Morm village, Udor Meanchey province, Cambodia, Tuesday, April 26, 2011. Thai and Cambodian

The defense ministers of Thailand and Cambodia agreed to hold talks for a ceasefire late Tuesday, as spreading border clashes entered their fifth day.

Defense Minister Tea Banh agreed with his counterpart, Pravit Wongsuwan, to hold talks in Phnom Penh “soon” to discuss a ceasefire, according to a Cambodian statement late Tuesday.

The two men spoke by phone as border skirmishes spread to Preah Vihear province, where the two sides exchanged rocket and artillery fire, military officials said.

Fighting took place at Veal Entry, or Eagle Field, and other sites near the 11th-Century temple, and near the Ta Krabei and Ta Muan temples in Oddar Meanchey province.

At least 13 people have been killed in the deadliest clashes since a military build-up began in July 2008. At least 11 people died in heavy fighting near Preah Vihear temple in February.

This week’s fighting has displaced more than 23,000 Cambodians in Oddar Meanchey province, according to a Cambodian statement.

The Cambodian Defense Ministry said in a statement late Monday that the Thai military had “assaulted” civilian targets as well as military targets in Oddar Meanchey. The ministry said in a statement that third-party observers would be welcomed in Cambodia to aid in a ceasefire.