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Cambodia to reduce troops at border temple: PM

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said he plans to reduce the number of troops stationed around an ancient border temple that has sparked bloody clashes with Thailand.

world Updated: Aug 22, 2009 19:19 IST

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday said he plans to reduce the number of troops stationed around an ancient border temple that has sparked bloody clashes with Thailand.

The neighbouring countries have fought several skirmishes on the disputed frontier around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple in Cambodia since the ruins were granted UN World Heritage status in July 2008.

Hun Sen said Thailand now had just 30 soldiers on the border, meaning that Cambodia would send some troops away from the area and back to their bases in nearby provinces, although he did not give precise figures.

"Having too many troops up there is not really good. We have a plan to change the deployment a little," Hun Sen said during a trip to an outlying province.

He said the Thai redeployment meant that there was no fighting at the border at present.

"If anything happened, it wouldn't take long to send our troops up again. But I hope there won't be any fighting there," he added.

Thailand in June reignited the row over the temple when it asked world heritage body UNESCO to reconsider its decision to formally list the temple in Cambodia, as ownership of land surrounding the ruins is still in dispute.