‘Thailand needs time to study ICJ order on border’

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 15:55

Bangkok: Thai Prime Minister Abhisit
Vejjajiva said Thailand can not immediately comply with the International Court of Justice`s measures to end the disputed border conflict around a 12th century Hindu Shiva temple with
Cambodia.

Abhisit told a press conference after meeting with the
Defense, Foreign and other ministries that he assigned
officials to study the legal effect of the order and let a new
government come into power before complying with the order.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague on Monday
ordered Thai and Cambodian troops to withdraw from border areas around a disputed World Heritage temple.

The court, which had been asked by Cambodia to rule on a
prolonged and deadly border dispute near the ancient Preah
Vihear Temple, said both sides in the dispute must immediately
pull their militaries back from the disputed area.

"I again assure that the court order will not affect our
sovereignty, but we need time to study and pass it on to the
new government," Abhisit said.

Abhisit added Thailand has analyzed all information based
on facts and concluded that the court-ordered demilitarized
zone would cover an area of 17.3 square kilometers.

"We expect Cambodia will pull out around 40,000 soldiers
from the area...our troops (in the area) are much fewer," he
added.

"We don`t lose any benefit," Abhisit said.

Abhisit said it is not easy to implement the
court-ordered measures, especially the troop withdrawal and
particularly in cases where Cambodian troops brought their
families to live in the disputed area.

Abhisit, who must step down after his party lost the
general election earlier this month, said he believes the new
government led by the Pheu Thai Party will deal with the World
Court order "based on national benefit."

After UNESCO declared Preah Vihear Temple a World
Heritage site in 2008 despite Thai protests, Cambodian and
Thai forces have skirmished across the disputed border in the
area several times.

The sometimes pitched battles resulted in more than a
dozen deaths, scores of injuries and the displacement of
thousands of local residents on both sides of the border.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 15:55

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