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Demilitarised zone around Preah Vihear created

Demilitarised zone around Preah Vihear created

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Royal Cambodian Armed Forces soldiers sit at Preah Vihear temple in February. Photo by: HENG CHIVOAN

THE International Court of Justice in The Hague has ordered both Cambodia and Thailand to withdraw “all military personnel” from a newly-created demilitarised zone around the Preah Vihear temple, a court officer said.

“[The court] finds that both countries must immediately withdraw their military personnel,” Boris Heim, information officer at the court, said by phone from The Hague this afternoon.

“We have defined a zone around the temple in which we said that both parties must withdraw all troops.”

The court’s ruling includes a map delineating the demilitarised zone that has been made public on its website.

“We ask both parties to refrain from any actions that could aggravate the situation and ask both parties to cooperate jointly to solve this problem peacefully with the assistance of Asean,” Heim said.

The court also ordered both countries to “cooperate to make sure that this decision, the order of the court, is complied with”, he added.

Cambodia lodged a complaint to the court on April 28, requesting it to order Thailand to withdraw all military forces from land adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple.

Both sides made oral arguments in The Hague at the end of May.

The appeal followed deadly clashes near the 11th Century Hindu temple in early February, and came amid days of fresh fighting near two other temples about 150 kilometres away from Preah Vihear.

At least 28 people were killed in the clashes this year.

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