Temple landmines to go
BANGKOK, 4 July 2012: The Thai Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat says Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to remove and disarm landmines around the disputed Preah Vihear Temple during the second meeting of a Joint Working Group (JWG) in Phnom Penh.
The committee met, late last month, in order to carry out the order of the International Course of Justice on provisional measures to relieve tension in the border area.
Thailand’s Royal Thai Army joint chief of staff, Gen Worapong Sanganetra, was the lead Thai delegate, while Cambodia’s team was led by Gen Neang Phat secretary of state of the Ministry of National Defense.
Thai Defence Minister Sukumpol said: “Thailand and Cambodia representatives agreed to remove landmines around Preah Vihear. However, the meeting did not discuss observers as the landmines should be first cleared before observers are allowed to inspect.”
In a statement at the close of the meeting both countries reiterated a commitment to implement the World Court’s order to “maintain and promote long-standing peaceful co-existence between the people of the two countries”.
The Joint Working Group was established in December 2011 to work towards a complete troop pullout from the provisional zone around the disputation temple to comply with last July’s court order.
According to the ruling, Thailand and Cambodia must immediately withdraw their military personnel from the demilitarised zone and allow ASEAN observers access to monitor the ceasefire.
The Cambodian government in April asked the court to interpret its 1962 verdict on the ownership of Preah Vihear and the disputed surrounding areas.
Cambodia also asked the court for an injunction ordering Thailand to withdraw its troop from the disputed area around Preah Vihear after relations between two sides soured in the wake of Cambodia’s bid to have the temple listed as a World Heritage Site.