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08PHNOMPENH813 SHOOTING INCIDENT NEAR PREAH VIHEAR

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“172452”,”10/3/2008 12:12″,”08PHNOMPENH813″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

“VZCZCXRO7885

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0813 2771212

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 031212Z OCT 08

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9955

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE

RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN IMMEDIATE

RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0130

RHMFISS/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE”,

“C O N F I D E N T I A L PHNOM PENH 000813

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR D, P, EAP/MLS, DS/IP, DS/IP/EAP, DS/TIA/PII

STATE ALSO FOR CA/OCS, INR/GGI- R. MILEFSKY

BANGKOK FOR POL – D. GREENBERG

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/03/2018

TAGS: PREL, ASEC, KTIA, MOPS, TH, CB

SUBJECT: SHOOTING INCIDENT NEAR PREAH VIHEAR

 

Classified By: CHARGE D\’AFFAIRES, A.I. PIPER CAMPBELL.

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: A Royal Cambodian Government (RGC)

official who leads border negotiations with Thailand reported

a \”clash between the two sides\” the afternoon of October 3 in

disputed territory near the Preah Vihear temple resulting in

the wounding of one Cambodian soldier. The source called the

report from the Ministry of Defense preliminary and details

remain sketchy. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected

to lodge a formal protest with the Thai embassy. It is too

early to tell how the government will treat the incident in

the local press; past less-violent altercations at Preah

Vihear have been kept quiet or been downplayed although

Thai-Cambodian issues have, in the past, inflamed public

opinion and led to riots. No new bilateral border talks have

been scheduled, although officials have been telling the

local press that Prime Minister Hun Sen will raise the border

issue during the October 13 visit by Thai Prime Minister

Somchai Wongsawat. Charge will continue to urge restraint by

the government in response to this latest incident. END

SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) Details of the incident have already surfaced in

the international press. Phay Siphan, Secretary of State in

the Council of Ministers, confirmed to us that the Thai fired

upon the Cambodian soldiers with M-79 rockets and M-16

rifles. The Cambodians responded with B-40 rockets and AK-47

machine guns. The firefight lasted about five minutes, he

told us. Phay Siphan said the Thai unit was comprised of

about 30 soldiers, the Cambodian unit about 17.

 

3. (C) Var Kim Hong (strictly protect), Senior Minister and

Chairman of the RGC Joint Border Commission, reported the

clash to A/DCM late October 3 noting that the information was

preliminary. He said that at about 3:00 p.m. a Cambodian

mobile patrol walking along Phnom Trap (Trap Mountain) west

of the Preah Vihear temple complex entered an area previously

called \”prohibited\” by the Thai. The Thai soldiers spotted

the Cambodian unit and \”opened fire on the Cambodian

soldiers,\” he said. In a follow-up call, Var Kim Hong

confirmed that one Cambodian solider was shot and wounded and

that the Cambodian unit had responded by firing a B40 rocket

at the Thai. He stated that the area in which the dispute

occurred is claimed by both sides on their respective maps.

The source did not have details and was quick to call the

report \”preliminary.\”

 

4. (C) Var Kim Hong noted that the matter was being handled

by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that the MFA planned

to file a formal note of protest with the Thai embassy in

Phnom Penh. Phay Siphan added that MFA Secretary of State

Long Visalo was handling the matter. In the meantime, DPM

Sok An was seeking to keep the RGC response muted and police

were boosting security in order to keep in check any

potential public over-reaction, said Phay Siphan.

 

5. (C) Charge is seeking out MFA interlocutors over the

weekend to inquire about the RGC response and to urge

continued restraint.

 

6. (C) Var Kim Hong passed the news of the incident after

noting to A/DCM that the Cambodian side had not yet confirmed

any of the additional bilateral talks which had been

discussed in August between the Thai and Cambodian Foreign

Ministers. These include further talks at the Foreign

Minister level, talks between military negotiators to discuss

modalities to \”re-deploy\” troops away from the disputed

border territory, and the convening of the Joint Border

Commissions from the two sides to continue technical talks on

the border.

 

7. (C) COMMENT: In the recent past, the RGC has played

down altercations along the border and has managed public

press coverage so as not to stir up public opinion. We

don,t know if recent displays of impatience with the

on-again-off-again bilateral talks have changed that general

low-key posture. END COMMENT.)

CAMPBELL

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Written by thaicables

July 19, 2011 at 5:58 am

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