UN chief presses Thailand, Cambodia for ceasefire

"The secretary-general calls on both sides to exercise maximum restraint and to take immediate measures to put in place for an effective and verifiable ceasefire," UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said yesterday.

Ban "also believes that the dispute cannot be resolved by military means and urges Cambodia and Thailand to engage in serious dialogue to find a lasting solution," the spokesman added.

The fighting forced thousands to flee the worst bloodshed since a UN ceasefire appeal in February.

The two countries exchanged heavy weapons fire for a second straight day on their disputed jungle frontier, the scene of a series of deadly gunbattles in recent years.

Three Cambodian troops and one Thai soldier were killed, according to officials in the two countries, a day after three soldiers died on each side.

Thousands of villagers been have evacuated from nearby areas on both sides since the latest violence broke out.

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