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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Thai Army Chief to Attend Thai-Cambodia General Border Talks

Army Chief Gen Prayuth Chano-cha on Tuesday said he would join Thai-Cambodian General Border Committee (GBC) meeting led by Defense Minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa in Cambodia on Wednesday.

He said the meeting will discuss 17 key issues including peaceful co-exist between the two countries as well as the Cambodian stance in compliance with the injunction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The ICJ on July 18 ordered Thailand and Cambodia to withdraw their troops from the newly defined demilitarised zone in disputed area around the contentious Preah Vihear temple while urging both countries to work with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to allow the observers to enter the disputed zone.

The army chief said the conclusion of the GBC meeting will be proposed to the cabinet and parliamentary meeting for approval as it is required by Article 190 of the Constitution, stipulating that any international treaties and agreements having effect on the country's territory must first be approved by the parliament.

At the GBC meeting, it is expected that both sides will specify the forces to replace their soldiers at Preah Vihear in accordance with the court order.

The ancient temple and its surrounding area have been frequently a flashpoint between the two countries. Although the World Court awarded the 11th century temple to Phnom Penh in 1962, a plot of 4.6 sq-km land has been claimed by both neighboring countries. Military build-up along the border and nationalism in the two countries prompted cross-border firings and shelling in February and April this year, killing at least tens of soldiers on both sides and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate.

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