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Meet set ahead of ICJ ruling

Border patrol officers guard a quiet area of the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple
Border patrol officers guard a quiet area of the 11th-century Preah Vihear temple in April. SCOTT HOWES

Meet set ahead of ICJ ruling

Cambodian officials will meet with Thai government representatives next week in Poipet ahead of next month’s International Court of Justice ruling over the contentious Preah Vihear temple dispute.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong, will lead the Cambodian delegation to meet with Thai counterpart Srapong Tovichakchaikul on October 28, according to a statement issued by the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday.

“The meeting will focus on further developing Cambodia-Thailand border areas, opening a number of new border checkpoints in order to create favorable conditions for the movements of goods and peoples along the border in those areas,” the statement said.

“The meeting will also discuss maintaining peace, security and stability along the border.”

Maj. Gen. Phat Sophen, chief of the Cambodia-Thai Border Relations Office at Preah Vihear and commander of Military Division 3, said yesterday that the security situation was normal.

“We are face-to-face with the opposite side and have daily communication,” Sophen said. “On the Cambodian side, the situation is normal.”

Col Thanasak Mitpanont, chief of the 11th Special Unit of the Thai military’s Saranaree Task Force, said that he instructed his soldiers to install loudspeakers so that the Thai military could communicate with the Cambodian forces, according to a report yesterday in the Bangkok Post.

Tensions over the 4.6-square-kilometer area surrounding the Preah Vihear temple boiled over in 2008 after UNESCO listed the 11th-century Hindu ruin as a World Heritage Site.

Violence over the disputed territory left at least 18 dead and thousands displaced along the border in 2011, the same year Cambodia asked the ICJ to reinterpret a 1962 ruling on the issue.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Koy Kuong said that however the court rules, Cambodia and Thailand have expressed a desire to maintain good relations and stability along the border.

“Whatever the court rules, we will respect [the decision] 100 per cent, and it won’t affect the normal relations between Cambodia and Thailand.”

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