New truce hope in Thai-Cambodia clash

Thai and Cambodian military commanders met for ceasefire talks on Thursday, but a deal to end the bloodiest fighting in decades remained unconfirmed.

As the death toll rose to 15 on the seventh day of fighting on the disputed border, the Cambodian defence minister suggested an agreement had been reached between army commanders at the disputed border.

“They agreed to a ceasefire and for soldiers to stay where they are,” Tea Banh told Agence France-Presse by telephone.

Thai military spokesperson Sunsern Kaewkumnerd said that while talks had taken place “no agreement has been reached”.

“Fighting has stopped now on both sides,” he added.

Both countries continue to blame each other for sparking the violence around two contested jungle temples, which has forced tens of thousands of civilians on both sides to flee their homes.

One Thai soldier died on Thursday morning, bringing the total number of the country’s troops killed since the fighting began last Friday to six, while eight have died on the Cambodian side.

Bangkok has said a Thai civilian has also been killed.

The fighting has prompted increasing diplomatic pressure on the neighbours to end hostilities.

A statement from European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday called the conflict “very worrying” and echoed calls made by the United Nations Security Council in February for a permanent ceasefire.

The US ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, on Thursday also urged a return to the negotiating table and said she hoped the Association of South-east Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc would help discussions.

Talks aimed at ending the violence had been due to take place in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, but were called off by Thailand’s defence minister at the last minute.

The Thai-Cambodian border has never been fully demarcated, partly because it is littered with landmines left over from years of war in Cambodia.

On Tuesday the fighting briefly spread to the 900-year-old Preah Vihear temple, which has been the focus of strained relations between the neighbours since it was granted UN World Heritage status in 2008.

In February, 10 people were killed near the Preah Vihear temple, which is 150km east of the two other ancient temple complexes at the centre of the current clashes, prompting a UN appeal for a permanent ceasefire.

The neighbours agreed in late February to allow observers from Indonesia into the area near Preah Vihear. But the Thai military has since said the monitors are not welcome and they have not been deployed.

The World Court ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but both countries claim ownership of a 4,6 square kilometre surrounding area.

Cambodia has accused Thailand of using spy planes and poisonous gas in the recent fighting — an allegation denied by Bangkok. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world