Preah Vihear temple border gate with Thailand likely to open on weekend

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Ten Thai soldiers stationed in Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak pagoda at Preah Vihear temple have already withdrawn and the Preah Vihear temple border gate with Thailand is likely to open on Sunday, said a top official at the Preah Vihear National Authority.

“Since Monday’s evening, both sides have pulled out each side of the 10 soldiers stationed in Wat Keo Sekha Kiri Svarak pagoda and Thai side asked to keep five of them dressed uniforms and equipped with radio transmitters, but no weapons to station at the Police station 795 nearby the Cambodian market nearby the temple,” Hang Soth, General Director of the Preah Vihear National Authority told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Both sides have also been re-filled bunkers since on Monday, he added.

“We, both sides, agreed in general to open the border gate at Preah Vihear temple on December 5 upon the request by a Thai army commander,” he added. “However, we are not yet to agree with the Thai request to allow her vendors to sell in our market nearby the temple.”

Chea Dara, deputy commander-in-chief of Royal Cambodian Armed Forces, who is in charge of the army at Preah Vihear temple, said Tuesday that tension between the two countries have been eased since four times of meetings between the two countries’ leaders and subsequent meetings between commanders of both sides’ armed forces.

The border gate has been closed since July 2008, when Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as a World Heritage site, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

Since then, tourists have been allowed to enter the hilltop temple from only Cambodia side, preventing a larger influx of visitors from Thailand.

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