US hopes Thai-Cambodia rift solved peacefully

WASHINGTON, July 18, 2011 (AFP) - The United States renewed its call Monday for Thailand and Cambodia to resolve their border rift peacefully after the UN's highest court ordered the countries to pull troops from a disputed area.

"The United States has consistently called upon both sides to continue dialogue and exercise maximum restraint in order to peacefully resolve their disputes and strengthen regional stability," State Department spokeswoman Heide Bronke Fulton told AFP.

She voiced support for efforts by Indonesia, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to mediate between the two members of the bloc.

The Hague-based International Court of Justice asked both Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw military personnel immediately from a provisional demilitarized zone around the 900-year-old Khmer temple of Preah Vihear.

The area was the scene of clashes in February and again in April that left a total of 28 people dead and prompted 85,000 civilians to flee.

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