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PREAH VIHEAR:Thailand hands in border report to ICJ

22/11/2011, Bangkokpost

Thailand has submitted a 900-page report on the disputed Preah Vihear temple to the International Court of Justice.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said the report contains 300 pages of detailed narrative and 600 pages of annexes but he could not disclose details unless given permission by the ICJ.

Thai ambassador to the Hague Virachai Plasai and Legal and Treaties Affairs Department director-general Ittiporn Boonprakong submitted the report to the ICJ yesterday.

In April, Cambodia submitted a request to the ICJ to interpret its 1962 verdict that awarded temple ownership to Cambodia. However, it never clarified the ownership of the area around the temple.

Cambodia also requested the court to issue a provisional measure to order Thailand to withdraw its troops and stop all military activities around the temple.

The ICJ had asked both Thailand and Cambodia to submit their written observations by yesterday.

It is not clear as to how long the ICJ will take to consider the case, but Mr Surapong hoped the ICJ would adhere to justice and fairness.

He said improved relations between Thailand and Cambodia since the change of government might make the ICJ’s deliberations easier.

“No matter how the ICJ’s decision turns out, Thai society should understand that this government and the past government of Abhisit Vejjajiva have tried their best to protect the country’s sovereignty and interests,” Mr Surapong said.

He said he had discussed the issue with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong on the sidelines of the Asean Summit in Bali, Indonesia, last week and the latter agreed that he would like discussions between the countries to go smoothly, including on the issue of the overlapping maritime area in the Gulf of Thailand.

Meanwhile, Cambodia has asked Indonesia, as the outgoing chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to continue its role as mediator for the border dispute.

The issue was raised during a meeting between Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, who asked Indonesia to continue its role as the representative of Asean to solve the border conflicts between Cambodia and Thailand in the framework of the ICJ.

As Cambodia has officially become the 2012 Asean chair, the country cannot act as both player and referee at the same time in negotiations about the border dispute with Thailand.

“It’s essential to have Indonesia to act as mediator on this issue,” Hor Namhong said.

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Written by Kham

22/11/2011 at 6:43 pm

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