Thai Defence Minister presides over military redeployment

Friday, 20 July 2012 By  MCOT

BANGKOK, July 18 -- Thai Defence Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat will preside today at a ceremony marking the deployment of Border Patrol Police to replace regular military personnel at the disputed Thai-Cambodian border near Preah Vihear temple. 

The ceremony is being held at Si Sa Ket's Kantharalak district at 11am when four companies of Thai Border Patrol Police drawn from the northeastern provinces of Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani and Sakon Nakhon, on standby at a Border Patrol Police camp in Si Sa Ket since yesterday, will officially take over from the army.

Speaking to reporters before leaving Bangkok with army chief Gen Prayuth Chanocha, ACM Sukumpol brushed aside concerns that the military pullout would put Thailand at a disadvantage.

"I can assure (the public) that the army and military personnel have carried out their duties in a well thought out manner. There should be no concern about that and Thailand will definitely not lose territory. We would not be at a disadvantage," the defence minister said.

Bangkok and Phnom Penh announced Friday that they would reduce their troop contingents at the disputed border under the International Court of Justice (ICJ) order.

Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Cambodia will withdraw 486 military personnel from the Provisional Demilitarized Zone (PDZ) surrounding Preah Vihear to comply with the ICJ order.

Today marks the first anniversary of the ICJ provisional measures.

ACM Sukumpol said earlier that he would chair the ceremony on Thai territory and would not cross the border to join a ceremony in Cambodia to be chaired by Cambodian Defence Minister Gen Tea Banh.

He did not specify details on how many Thai troops would be replaced by border patrol police, but he said that it would be carried out with similar numbers as Cambodia.

The minister said that he did not want to reveal more details as it was a technical issue.

He brushed aside concerns that the military pullout would put Thailand at a disadvantage.

"I can assure (the public) that the army and military personnel have carried out their duties in a well thought out manner. There should be no concern about that and Thailand will definitely not lose territory. We would not be at a disadvantage," the defence minister said.

The court last July ordered both Thailand and Cambodia to immediately withdraw their military forces from the PDZ and have no military presence in the zone. It urged both countries to work with ASEAN to reach an agreement allowing the regional bloc's observers to enter the disputed zone.

The two countries were also ordered to revive their stalled talks to resolve the conflicts. Both were to report developments to the court until a decision on Cambodia's main request for interpretation of the 1962 order is finalised.

In April 2011 Cambodia asked the ICJ to clarify and interpret its 1962 ruling on Preah Vihear.

The court ruled in 1962 that the ancient Hindu temple belonged to Cambodia but did not define the boundaries of the area surrounding it, which has led to sporadic clashes between troops of both sides since then.

comments powered by Disqus
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Advertise With Us | About Us | Feedback | Contact Us