ASEAN hails ICJ’s troop withdrawal verdict

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BANGKOK, 20 July 2011 – ASEAN has expressed satisfaction with the ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to have both Thai and Cambodian troops withdrawn from the disputed border, deeming it as a way to ease tension. 

During the 44th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, which is taking place during 19-23 July in Bali, Indonesia, ASEAN Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan commented on the ICJ’s temporary injunction for the dismissal of soldiers on both sides of the Thai-Cambodian border, saying the order was appropriate as it was fairly directed to both nations. He pointed out that the Court also gave an opportunity for ASEAN to play a role in reducing the border conflict through the deployment of border observers from Indonesia within the demilitarized zone.

Personally, the ASEAN Secretary-General viewed that if Thailand and Cambodia could successfully conclude on the border demarcation issue, the latter might opt to cancel its request for the ICJ’s reinterpretation of its 1962 verdict on the Preah Vihear Temple case. For now, the two countries are recommended to coordinate with each other in order to have a common understanding of the Court’s verdict.

Meanwhile, ASEAN Chair and Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has expressed his wish to discuss with both Thailand and Cambodia about their directions after the ICJ rulings have been made.