Thailand prepares for World Court ruling on Preah Vihear dispute Nov 11

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BANGKOK, Oct 21 – Thailand will propose a joint meeting with Cambodia prior to the November 11 judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ, or World Court) on the Preah Vihear border dispute, Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said today.

He said he would contact his Cambodian counterpart Hor Nam Hong to set a date for the Thai-Cambodian joint committee meeting.

Thailand believes the ICJ’s ruling would not jeopardise bilateral relationships given an earlier statement by Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen that the border dispute and the two countries’ bilateral relationship were separate issues, and not related, he said.

Thai security officials met earlier today in a special meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, to discuss preparations for the World Court judgement.

The meeting outlined four possible scenarios on the November 11 ruling: 1) the ICJ rules out its authority to judge on the petition, 2) the World Court judges whether the area adjacent to Preah Vihear temple follows the lines on the French map of 1:200,000 scale, 3) Thailand’s defence is in line with the Court’s original verdict in 1962, and 4) the ICJ gives a neutral judgement based on the 1:200,000 scale map and the 1962 verdict, and urges negotiation between Thailand and Cambodia.

Mr Surapong said Thailand would set up another ad hoc committee to analyse the ICJ verdict while the Foreign Ministry would immediately explain the case to the Thai people.

The ICJ judgement will be telecast live on Channel 11 and Channel 9, and broadcast on radio, starting at 4 pm (local time) on November 11.

He expressed confidence that the ICJ ruling would not lead to clashes on the Thai-Cambodian border as the two countries’ relationship has greatly improved.

Cambodia sought an ICJ ruling on whether the area around the Preah Vihear temple was under its jurisdiction while Thailand contended that the Court verdict in 1962 only covered the Hindu temple itself, and not the adjacent area.