Friday, July 22, 2011

Indonesian observers allowed after withdrawal of Cambodian troops: Thai PM


Thailand's caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday that no Indonesian observers would be allowed to enter the disputed border area near the 11th century Preah Vihear temple until Cambodian troops had left.

The outgoing premier added that further discussions between Phnom Penh and Bangkok are necessary as both sides have different positions on the issue.

Following Cambodia's application in late April for reinterpretation of the World Court's 1962 ruling and provisional measure, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on July 18 ordered both countries to remove their troops from the disputed area.

The court went beyond Cambodia's request for immediate and complete withdrawal of the Thai military from the area, ruling that both countries should allow observers from the Association of South East Asian Nations into the area to observe a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, Thai Army Region 2 commander Lt-Gen Thawatchai Samutsakorn made a remark that military withdrawal could not be realized at the moment as the army would have to wait until the new government is formed.

The ICJ ruled in 1962 that the 900-year-old Preah Vihear Hindu temple was located in an area under Cambodian sovereignty. However, both sides have laid the claim to some 4.6 square kilometer land surrounding the temple.

Tensions have mounted since 2008 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization listed the temple as a World Heritage Site, triggering sporadic clashes along the border. In February, some 10 people were killed and thousands fled to makeshift camps while about a score of people were killed and almost hundred thousands were forced to seek shelters in April.

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