Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Yingluck steadfast on Preah Vihear


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Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra 
The heated rhetoric around the Preah Vihear temple has been dialed back several notches since her July election, but Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said over the weekend that her nation intends to put its all into the ongoing legal battle over the contested 4.6 square kilometres around the site.

On Saturday, the Thai premier said her government would apply its utmost efforts to contest the Preah Vihear case at the International Court of Justice, pledging to protect Thailand’s sovereignty, Thai news agency MCOT reported.

Speaking ahead of a Thai by-election, Yingluck, who has seen her public support slide, said she and her deputy prime minister, General Yutthasak Sasiprapa, and military and foreign affairs officials met two days earlier to discuss the case with a specialised legal team.

Reached yesterday, Cambodian government spokesman Ek Tha said Thailand must stop making baseless claims to Cambodian land near the temple.

“Cambodia is very, very optimistic that the ICJ, which ruled in favour of Cambodia based on the clear maps and clear border lines, will stick to and uphold its 1962 decision,” Ek Tha said.

“If the ICJ did not have clear maps and clear boundaries…the court would have not ruled in favour of Cambodia in 1962. The ICJ has full sense in terms of legal process and technical aspects as well as full authorisation and discretion as a UN court, so no one can pressure the ICJ to do this or that.” 

The ICJ has asked Thailand to submit further written explanations by June 21, Thai press reports stated. 

Cambodia previously sent its written explanations to the court ahead of a March 8 deadline.

Cambodia’s complaint with the ICJ seeks a reinterpretation of the court’s 1962 decision, which awarded the Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia, but was silent on the issue of the surrounding land. 

“A clear interpretation would prevent both sides from exchanging fire in the future,” Ek Tha said, adding that at the same time, Cambodia wants to maximise and expand trade with Thailand, which would benefit both nations.