Thursday, 20 June 2013
Cambodia agrees to uphold peace on disputed border
Cambodia's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Monday that Cambodia has agreed to maintain peace along its disputed border with Thailand, irrespective of the ICJ's upcoming decision concerning the territory surrounding Cambodia's Preah Vihear Temple. Since it was approved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 7 July 2008, the Temple has been the scene of intermittent conflict between Cambodia and Thailand, the latter claiming ownership of the 4.6 km² of territory adjacent to the site.
"Whatever decision the ICJ makes, the Cambodian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Thai government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra will abide by the court's decision, and we will maintain friendship, cooperation and serenity along the border," said Namhong to the Director General of UNESCO,Irina Bokova, who welcomed the announcement, agreeing that a peaceful solution was in tune with UNESCO's vision of protecting heritage sites all over the world. The Court is expected to rule on the disputed land, which has tested relations between the two south-east Asian nations for decades, by the end of this year.
Cambodia filed an application to the ICJ on 28 April 2011 requesting an interpretation of the Court's judgement on 15 June 1962 (which ruled in favour of Cambodia) concerning the century-long border dispute in and around the area of the Preah Vihear Temple in the Dangrek Mountains. In the 2011 application, Cambodia stressed the need for Thailand to withdraw its troops from the area, cease all military activity in the vicinity and refrain from any act that could aggravate the dispute, lest irreparable damage be done to relations between the two parties. Thailand refuted the claims that there was still a dispute and that these special provisions regarding its military be implemented. The Court ruled against Bangkok and has since heard opening statements from both parties.