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Indonesia ‘ready’ for Preah Vihear

Indonesia ‘ready’ for Preah Vihear

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Indonesia is ready to deploy observers to the provisional demilitarised zone between Cambodia and Thailand, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said after a meeting with his Indonesian counterpart yesterday.

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“I was assured by Marty that Indonesian observers in this circumstance will meet the demands of ASEAN and the demands of ICJ [International Court of Justice],” Hor Namhong said after the closed meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“I am prepared to sign an agreement over the TOR [terms of references] and this can take place anywhere . . . in Phnom Penh, Bangkok or Indonesia,” he said.

A ruling by the ICJ in July ordered Cambodia and Thailand to withdraw military troops from a 4.6 square-kilometre area around the disputed Preah Vihear temple and appointed Indonesia as observer.

Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa said discussions between Indonesia and Thailand about the deployment of observers were ongoing.  

Hor Namhong said the General Border Commission had last year established a Joint Working Group to set a date for the deployment, but Thailand had so far been unavailable to convene a meeting.

Natalegawa said ASEAN’s consideration of East Timor’s application to join the regional grouping had also been discussed.

“I expressed confidence that under Cambodia’s chairmanship, ASEAN will make good progress on this very important issue,” he said.

Issues such as the South China Sea dispute and the setting up of a Southeast Asia Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone were also broached, he said.

Other matters discussed included a possible direct flight from Indonesia’s ancient temple complex to Siem Reap.

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