UNITED NATIONS — The UN Security Council expressed "grave concern" Monday at recent border clashes between Thailand and Cambodia and called on the two sides to establish a permanent cease-fire and settle the dispute peacefully.
The council gave strong backing to the efforts of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations — which includes both countries — to help resolve the conflict in the disputed border region surrounding Preah Vihear temple, a protected UN World Heritage site. ASEAN foreign ministers will discuss the clashes at Feb. 22 meeting.
Cambodia and Thailand have accused each other of starting the latest clashes which began on Feb. 4 and continued through Feb. 7. The battle over a hilly patch of land in the remote countryside is rooted in a decades-old border dispute that has fueled nationalist passions and has been driven by domestic politics and conspiracy theories on both sides.