SA KAEO : Thailand and Cambodia will strive to improve ties no matter how the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules on the Preah Vihear temple dispute next month, the two sides say.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul shakes hands with his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong in Sa Kaeo’s Aranyaprathet district. The pair met for talks in the border town of Poipet in Cambodia’s Banteay Meanchey province yesterday ahead of the International Court of Justice ruling on the Preah Vihear dispute on Nov 11. APICHART JINAKUL
The mutual reassurances followed a special round of talks between the two sides in the border town of Poipet in Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province yesterday.
The talks, co-chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong, covered border cooperation issues and ways to prevent any misunderstandings and conflicts. They were organised with the ICJ ruling in mind. The ruling will be announced in The Hague, the Netherlands, on Nov 11.
Cambodia two years ago asked the ICJ to clarify its 1962 judgement awarding the temple to that country. It asked the court to decide whether the temple and its "vicinity" included the disputed 4.6 sq km area of land surrounding it.
The two men talked for about 40 minutes in Poipet before the co-chairmen crossed the border to meet the press at a hotel in Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district.
Mr Surapong said the two nations will work together to ensure bilateral ties are not affected by whatever decision the ICJ should reach.
"Before any action is taken, consultations will be sought. Both sides uphold the will to maintain peace along the border and won't allow anything to disturb our good relationship," Mr Surapong said.
Hor Namhong said Cambodia will comply with the ICJ's ruling.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed Cambodian soldiers along the border to show restraint and tolerance following the ruling.
"I don't think there will be a problem in Cambodia after the ruling," said Hor Namhong, adding the temple conflict is a minor issue and should not be used to affect relations as a whole.
"I hope the Thai side will have the same confidence," he said.
He said the request for the ICJ to interpret the 1962 ruling was based on necessity, after the Thai government under Abhisit Vejjajiva in 2008 caused many problems regarding relations between the two nations.
"In order to avoid a full-blown war, we were forced to bring this issue up at the ICJ to seek a peaceful solution. The Cambodian people fully understand this problem and will not argue against the government's position," he said.