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09PHNOMPENH638 CAMBODIA WITHDRAWS TROOPS; STILL WAITS FOR THAI MOVEMENT ON PREAH VIHEAR

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“222705”,”8/28/2009 8:49″,”09PHNOMPENH638″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,””,

“VZCZCXRO3253

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0638 2400849

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

O 280849Z AUG 09

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1126

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY”,

“UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 000638

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, P, D

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, MOPS, KTIA, CB

SUBJECT: CAMBODIA WITHDRAWS TROOPS; STILL WAITS FOR THAI

MOVEMENT ON PREAH VIHEAR

 

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR DISSEMINATION ON THE

INTERNET.

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC)

sources confirmed a recent reduction in Cambodian troops from

around the disputed Preah Vihear border area, but could not

readily give the full scope or extent of those movements. The

senior RGC border official assigned to the Preah Vihear

dispute noted that Cambodia is \”still waiting\” for the Thai

parliament\’s approval of already agreed communiques marking a

clear path forward for border negotiations, including joint

demining and demarcation, but expressed deep skepticism that

the Thai government would act soon. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) Following through on a public vow made by Prime

Minister Hun Sen on August 22, senior military leaders from

the Cambodian and Thai armed forces met on August 24 in Phnom

Penh, and declared an end to hostilities on the border. Thai

General Songkitti Jaggabatra announced that \”the border will

not be the cause of any further disputes.\” Cambodian troops

started withdrawing from the Preah Vihear temple area on

August 26. Military officials in Phnom Penh could not yet

confirm how substantial these withdrawals have been, but

field commanders have confirmed the target is a 50 percent

reduction in the Cambodian troop presence. Var Kim Hong,

Senior Minister and Chairman of the Border Committees, told

Pol/Econ Chief that Deputy Prime Minster and Minister of

Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong had raised the Preah Vihear

border dispute with both Thai Prime Minister Abhisit

Vejjajiva (Aug. 4) and Thai Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya

(Aug. 5) during participation in the Cambodian-Thailand Joint

Policy Commission in Bangkok. Hor Namhong \”pushed to have

the Thai parliament agree to the communiques we already

negotiated with the Thai,\” said Var Kim Hong. Commenting

that it is already the end of August, he said the RGC was

\”still waiting.\”

 

3. (SBU) Confirming the Cambodian troop reductions, Var Kim

Hong also noted that Thai soldiers still had not withdrawn

from the small pagoda at the base of the Preah Vihear temple

and thus agreed-upon joint demining and border demarcation in

that area could not commence. Citing a \”negative\” article in

Bangkok\’s English-language daily \”The Nation\” on August 27

which took a stand against the Abhisit government settling

the Preah Vihear dispute, Var Kim Hong expressed skepticism

that the Thai government would honor the agreements made with

his Thai counterpart in the bilateral Joint Border

Commission. Nonetheless, he said, Cambodia would keep

waiting.

 

4. (SBU) Separately, when questioned at the opening ceremony

for a Kampong Speu health center refurbished by U.S. Marines,

on August 27, the Ambassador noted to the local press that

reports of the withdrawal were an encouraging development and

a positive sign that showed the border dispute could be

solved by peaceful means.

 

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The Cambodian troop withdrawals from

Preah Vihear follow the very positive talks between the Thai

and Cambodian commanders in chief in Phnom Penh earlier in

the week. If the Thai military responded with troop

\”re-deployments\” to match, including from sensitive areas in

the disputed territory which they had not occupied before

July 2008, then a first concrete and positive step to resolve

this dispute bilaterally will have been completed, providing

a good basis for further diplomatic progress.

RODLEY

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Written by thaicables

July 21, 2011 at 5:54 am

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