By NUNTIDA PUANGTHONG
Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul yesterday briefed his Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa about compliance with the International Court of Justice (ICJ)'s order for all troops to pull back from disputed areas around Preah Vihear Temple on t
Surapong also told Marty that Thailand would host a meeting of the Thailand-Cambodia joint working group from today till Friday in Bangkok to discuss the matter, Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said.
The working group was set up in December in accordance with an agreement by the General Border Committee (GBC) to take care of border security at disputed areas adjacent to the Hindu temple.
The working group meeting in Bangkok this week would discuss the general security situation, plus confidence building measures between the two neighbours and compliance with the ICJ’s order, Thani said.
Thailand and Cambodia have been at loggerheads over Preah Vihear Temple for decades. Phnom Penh asked the international court to clarify a ruling it made in 1962 in regard to land adjacent to the temple.
The court ruled in 1962 that the temple is situated on territory that belongs to Cambodia but Thailand argued that it has sovereignty over surrounding areas.
Military clashes over control of disputed areas totalling 4.6 square kilometres near the temple have led to the loss of many lives on both sides.
The ICJ last year ordered Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw troops out of the area to set up a ‘demilitarised zone’. It also asked Indonesian observers to monitor the withdrawal.
Surapong met Marty in Phnom Penh yesterday on the sidelines of the Asean summit.
Foreign ministers from the regional group also discussed the plan to set up an Asean Economic Community by 2015.
Foreign Minister Surapong proposed that Asean consider disaster management cooperation and measures to prevent negative impacts from the Asean integration, such as drug trafficking across regional borders, Thani said.
Leaders attending the summit in Phnom Penh this week would also endorse a declaration to make Asean a drug-free region by 2015, he said.
During the foreign ministers’ meeting, Surapong expressed his condolences to Malaysia over the death of one of its nationals in a bomb in Hat Yai on Saturday. Asean ministers also expressed sympathy over the loss of lives to both Thailand and Malaysia.