Thai Foreign Ministry assesses Phra Viharn’s ruling


BANGKOK, Oct 14 – The Thai Foreign Ministry will release a documentary on the Phra Viharn temple later this year, in advance of a ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Thai-Cambodian dispute on an area adjacent to the Hindu temple, a senior official said today.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow, permanent secretary for foreign affairs, said members of the Thai ad hoc committee on Phra Viharn case, including Thai ambassador to The Hague, Virachai Plasai, in his capacity as the Thai agent, met today to discuss development of the case.

It is unlikely that the ICJ will give its judgement on the case before January but Thailand is ready for the decision no matter how the outcome will be, he said.

Cambodia has sought the ICJ’s revision of the 1962 judgement which ruled that the Phra Viharn temple belonged to Cambodia but no decision was made on the region surrounding the temple.

Mr Virachai said there are four possibilities for the ICJ’s ruling: the ICJ maintains it has no authority to consider the case, the ICJ decides in favour of Cambodia, the ICJ decides in favour of Thailand, and the ICJ gives a non-committal decision.

He said today’s meeting touched on the possibilities of the ICJ’s decision and Thailand’s preparedness to deal with the judgement.

Whatever the ICJ’s decision, Thai-Cambodian relations must  be unaffected, he said.

Mr Virachai said Thailand has formed a national mechanism to discuss with Cambodia and create understanding among the Thai people.

The situation along the Thai-Cambodian border does not requirement any military reinforcement, he added.

Nuttavudh Photisaro, deputy permanent secretary for foreign affairs, said the Foreign Ministry has entered the second phase of creating understanding among Thai people on the Phra Viharn case.

The first phase was during the oral hearing at the ICJ in April and the second involves workshops and distribution of information via booklets and website to provide explanations to people in northern and northeastern provinces opposite Cambodia, including Ubon Ratchathani, Si Sa Ket and Surin, he said.