Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul has revealed that he is worried about the public's reaction to the impending International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the disputed area around the Preah Vihear temple complex.
The ICJ is expected to deliver its ruling on the ownership of the 4.6 sq km area around Preah Vihear temple in October next year after Cambodia asked the court to clarify its 1962 ruling on the issue.
The court had previously ruled that the temple belonged to Cambodia, but some of the area around the temple has been contested by both countries since then.
Mr Surapong said although he has confidence in the legal team representing Thailand at the ICJ, he is worried the public will not understand what will happen after the verdict.
"I'm afraid that if some groups view the verdict as unsatisfactory, they will use the verdict to organise protests," Mr Surapong said.
"We must not forget that all countries are obliged to respect the ICJ's verdicts and cannot oppose the court."
He said he does not wish to see more clashes between Thai and Cambodian troops along the border.
The ICJ has scheduled the oral hearing between Thailand and Cambodia on April 15-19 and is expected to hand down the verdict six months after that.
In the meantime, the Foreign Ministry will endeavour to inform the public about the history of the Preah Vihear case, the minister said.
Mr Surapong said he will hold meetings with provincial governors to to brief them on the issue so they can explain the matter to subordinates and locals in their respective areas.
The minister said he, along with Thai legal experts and lawyers who used to work on the Preah Vihear case, will meet the legal team representing Thailand in the Hague in February to prepare for the April oral hearings.
Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana will also attend the Hague meeting.
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- Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol