ICJ defers sovereignty ruling

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has postponed delivering its ruling on the sovereignty dispute between Thailand and Cambodia over land immediately surrounding Preah Vihear temple.

Surapong: Expects decision in February

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said he was informed about the delay yesterday.

The ruling was initially expected to be delivered this month.

Mr Surapong said he was told the ruling would probably be handed down in February next year because the ICJ judges are still preoccupied with other cases.

The temple dispute stems from a World Court judgement in 1962 awarding the Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia. Under the ruling, Thailand was obliged to withdraw its troops from the temple and its "vicinity".

The ruling, however, provided no details about what the vicinity was and how much territory was involved. Thailand claims it is a 0.35-square-kilometre area immediately around the temple while Cambodia says it is a much larger area of about 4.6 sq km.

The dispute has led to several armed clashes.

As a result of these border skirmishes, Phnom Penh asked the World Court in April 2011 to reinterpret the 1962 judgement and decide whether the temple and its "vicinity" included the 4.6 sq km area around the ruins.

Thailand and Cambodia gave their closing statements before the World Court in The Hague in April.