Thailand, Cambodia upbeat over Preah Vihear ruling

SA KAEO - The Thai and Cambodian foreign ministers on Monday jointly pledged there will be no conflict along the border after the Nov 11 ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the ownership of disputed territory around the Preah Vihear temple.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul, right, shakes hands with Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong at the press conference in Aranyaprathet district, Sa Kaeo, after the Joint Commission meeting held across the border in adjacent Poipet, Cambodia, on Monday, Oct 28, 2013. (Photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul and his Cambodian counterpart Hor Namhong told a joint press conference that their governments will not let the judgement disturb ties between the two countries.

The press conference was held in Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo after the Joint Commission met across the border in adjacent Poipet in Cambodia. It was the first high-ranking meeting between them since the ICJ set Nov 11 as the date to make a judgement on the long-running dispute.

The court in The Hague will rule whether the judgement in 1962 which handed the ancient Hindu temple to Cambodia includes the disputed 4.6 square kilometres immedtaely around it. The issue was taken back to the  court by Phnom Penh, which claims the land and asked for a ruling. Thailand has rejected the Cambodian claim and presented its own case for sovereignty over the disputed area.

Cambodian minister Hor Namhong said the outcome of the ruling is not an issue that would upset Cambodians. He assured Mr Surapong the sentiment of Cambodians in his country could be manageable.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen's order to his soldiers last Friday to maintain peace at the border underlined Phnom Penh's intent to keep close ties with Thailand, he said.

The Thai foreign minister said the two countries planned to set up a new panel, the Joint Commission on Border Development, following the ruling. It would coordinate  development in the currently contested area, he said.

The foreign minister said Sihasak Puangketkaew, permanent secretary for foreign affairs, had been assigned to explain the issue to all interested groups, to prevent the situation exploding  and souring bilateral relations.

In Bangkok, army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday renewed his call for public calm and said all Thais should be patient in waiting for the ruling.

Gen Prayuth also favoured a joint effort to develop the area near Preah Vihear.

The military favoured a peaceful solution, but would not be complacent, the army chief said.

Related search: thailand, cambodia, preah vihear, international court of justice, verdict, ruling, hor namhong, surapong tovichakchaikul, hun sen, soldiers, border

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Writer: Thanida Tansubhapol and Wassana Nanuam