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Cambodia To Seek French Maps of Border

In this photo taken Nov. 7, 2008, a Cambodian deminer, holds a map of a disputed border at an entrance of Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple in a world heritage site near the Cambodian-Thai border.

Cambodia’s ambassador will seek to accept a French offer to make maps available from the French-colonial period that could clarify border disputes at the heart of military clashes between Thailand and Cambodia.

On Wednesday, France offered its maps to help resolve border disputes that have simmered over on multiple occasions since July 2008, when the border temple of Preah Vihear was inscribed as a Unesco World Heritage site, leading up to intense fighting over the weekend that left at least 10 dead.

Thailand disputes Cambodian claims to border areas surrounding the temple. But Cambodia has maintained the borders were clearly staked out under a French treaty with the government of what was then Siam at the turn of the 20th Century.

Thailand claims that it does not recognize some of the maps and instead uses its own surveys of the border area. That leaves a critical 4.6-kilometer stretch west of the 11th-Century Preah Vihear temple as an area of contention where three days of fighting erupted on Feb. 5.

On Thursday Cambodia ordered its ambassador in Paris to reach out to the French Foreign Ministry to discuss the maps, said Koy Kuong, a spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Affairs Ministry.

French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters in Paris on Wednesday France would provide the maps “to any country that asks us to consult them or to make a copy of these documents,” Agence France-Presse reported.

Thai authorities dismissed the offer on Thursday, the Bangkok Post reported.

Koy Kuong said the French maps are “internationally recognized” and accused Thailand of an “ambition to capture Cambodian territory.”