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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        2  June  2011

Thailand tells court to drop case

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The International Court of Justice should drop Cambodia's petition on Preah Vihear temple, Thailand says.

Wrapping up its testimony before a two-day ICJ hearing in the Hague, Thai ambassador to The Hague, Virachai Plasai, said Phnom Penh's complaints against Bangkok were groundless, and its petition to the court inappropriate.

The ICJ ruled in 1962 that Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia but its verdict did not touch on which country owns the land surrounding the temple.

Both Cambodia and Thailand have laid claim to this land, which has led to a series of armed clashes between the two countries. Cambodia has now asked the court to interpret its 1962 ruling and order Thailand to withdraw troops and stop all military activity near the temple.

The court called a two-day hearing to consider the request, and a decision is expected next year. The ICJ has asked Thailand and Cambodia to submit additional information, including the number of deaths and clash locations to the court by Tuesday.

Then, the ICJ wants the two countries to submit any arguments contradicting the information provided by June 14.

Mr. Virachai told the court on Tuesday that Thailand has always been willing to support a joint listing of the Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site.

It was Cambodia's constant refusal to make such a joint undertaking that had caused problems, said Mr. Virachai.

Cambodia's call for the withdrawal of Thai troops was merely designed to clear the disputed land and create a buffer zone under its management plan.

The plan is supposed to go before the World Heritage Committee next month. Thailand has asked that it be removed from the agenda until the border demarcation had been settled.

He said Thailand had never disputed the court's verdict. But Cambodia wanted the court to determine something outside the scope of its verdict. The ICJ should remove Cambodia's petition from its consideration as it was not appropriate.

The court did not rule on the boundary line and left it to be mutually determined under international law and bilateral mechanisms. "Pending demarcation of the boundary, we have consistently adhered to the decision adopted by our cabinet in 1962. We did not change our position on the boundary in 2007 as alleged by Cambodia," he said.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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