Cambodia withdrew 485 troops from the Provisional Demilitarized Zone (PDZ) that surrounds the Preah Vihear Temple on July 18.

Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Tea Banh witnessed the withdrawal along with foreign diplomats, military attachés and several Cambodian government officials.

Before the pullout, Tea Banh stated said that Cambodia was complying with a directive issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and was taking a progressive step in an effort to improve relations with Thailand.

The withdrawal was made after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen met with his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra on July 13 in Siem Reap province and agreed to redeploy their troops in the PDZ.

Subsequently, Cambodia’s replaced it troops with 255 police officers and 100 security guards, to ensure the temples safety.

Deputy Commander in Chief of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces General Chea Dara said that the withdrawal proves that Cambodia wants a peaceful solution to the dispute with Thailand.

In 1962 the ICJ ruled that the temple at Preah Vihear temple belonged to Cambodia . However, both Cambodia and Thailand have logged persistent claims over sovereignty of the area around the temple, which sits on a site of 4.6 km2.

Since UNESCO listed Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, several clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops have broken out in the disputed area.-VNA