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Cambodia announces unilateral troop withdrawal from disputed border with Thailand…not go too far

PHNOM PENH, July 13 (Xinhua) — Cambodia will withdraw some 486 military personnel from the Provisional Demilitarized Zone (PDZ) surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple next Wednesday in order to comply with the order of the International Court of Justice, Cambodia’s Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Friday.

“We will withdraw some 486 troops from the PDZ on July 18 in order to abide by the ICJ’s order issued on July 18 last year,” he said in a press conference to conclude the 45th ASEAN meeting and related meetings at the Peace Palace.

He said the pullout is a sign to show the world that Cambodia is willing to comply with the World Court’s order.

“Now, we move a step forwards to move back troops first even though the other side (Thailand) has subsequent pretexts to slow down its troop withdrawal from the PDZ,” he said.

Cambodia and Thailand have had sporadic border conflict over territorial dispute near Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple since the UNESCO listed the temple as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008, but Thailand claims the ownership of 4.6 square kilometer of scrub next to the temple.

Fierce clashes between the two sides’ troops had happened in February and April 2011 during Thailand’s Democrat Party rule.

The ICJ ordered on July 18, 2011 that Cambodia and Thailand must immediately withdraw their military personnel from the 17.3 square kilometer PDZ and refrain from any armed activity directed at that zone.

Also, it ordered both parties to allow ASEAN observers ( Indonesians) to access to the zone to monitor ceasefire.

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