Cambodian PM Calls Border Clashes "Real War"

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Wednesday that the recent clashes with Thailand in the disputed border areas were "a real war".

"This is the real war, not the military clash," he said while closing the annual conference of the Ministry of Commerce. "Thailand created this war. (Thai Prime Minister) Abhisit must be responsible for the war."

Hun Sen accused Thai troops of firing cluster bomb at Cambodian troops. "Our war with Thailand will be taking long time," he said.

Hun Sen also called for international mediation in bilateral negotiations. "There will be no more bilateral talks, and all negotiations will be participated by the third party," he said, adding that "now bilateral mechanism is worthless, so it need international mechanism."

"Thai government should not be afraid of international mechanism," the premier said.

Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict just a week after Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was awarded World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

The conflict is due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in casualties of troops on both sides.

The latest four-day clashes on Feb. 4-7 have already left both sides' soldiers dead or wounded, at the same time, tens of thousands of the two countries' villagers nearby the disputed areas fled to safe shelters.


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