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09BANGKOK2187 THAI-CAMBODIAN BORDER DISPUTE: THAI ARMY ASSESSES NO REDUCTION IN CAMBODIAN TROOPS AT PREAH VIHEAR

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“222744”,”8/28/2009 11:23″,”09BANGKOK2187″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

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SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/28/2019

TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PBTS, TH, CB

SUBJECT: THAI-CAMBODIAN BORDER DISPUTE: THAI ARMY ASSESSES

NO REDUCTION IN CAMBODIAN TROOPS AT PREAH VIHEAR

 

Classified By: Political Counselor George P. Kent, reasons 1.4 (b) and

(d)

 

1. (C) Thai and Cambodian press reports over the past week

indicated that Cambodia would reduce the number of troops in

the Preah Vihear area after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen

August 22 announced a troop reduction, possibly by much as

fifty percent. Hun Sen\’s announcement preceded a visit by

Thai Chief of Defense Forces General Songkitti Jaggabatara to

Cambodia that included a meeting with Cambodian armed forces

leader Pol Sarouen. Songkitti was reported to have said that

there would be no more problems between Thailand and Cambodia

after his meetings in Phnom Penh.

 

2. (C) At this point it is unclear whether the reduction, if

true, would apply to the number of troops within the temple

grounds (reported to be about 10 on each side), troops

located in the disputed territory, or to the larger numbers

in the vicinity of the disputed territory. While estimates

of troops numbers vary, Colonel Werachon Sukondhapatipak,

Director of the Royal Thai Army\’s Foreign Liaison Division,

had told us earlier that Thailand had 3,000 troops in the

area and that the RTA assessed Cambodia to have approximately

5,000 troops in the vicinity of the disputed territory.

 

3. (C) Colonel Saranyu Viriyavejakul, Aide de Camp to RTA

Commander General Anupong Paochinda, told us late August 28

that the RTA had not observed any troop reduction on the

Cambodian side. Thai Army observations from the disputed

area were that Cambodian troops had shifted positions in and

around the disputed territory, but that there had been no

change in the number of Cambodian troops. Saranyu told us

that the RTA believed that Cambodian statements over the past

week were posturing in regard to a deadline imposed by the

World Heritage Committee for Phnom Penh to institute an

International Coordinating Committee for the Preah Vihear

temple. The original deadline for establishing the Committee

was February 2009 but Cambodia had received an extension.

The RTA believed Phnom Penh would miss the deadline again and

was trying to make public statements of troop withdrawals to

garner support from the international community, Saranyu

said.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 21, 2011 at 5:53 am

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