Published: 4/05/2011 at 12:00 AM
Newspaper section: News
The Abhisit government must exercise utmost care in dealing with Cambodia's latest request for the World Court to clarify the 1962 ruling about the Preah Vihear temple.
A statement issued by the Cambodian Foreign Ministry last Friday said the request was prompted by ''Thailand's repeated armed aggression to exert its claims to Cambodian territory''. A clarification by the court was of ''the utmost necessity in order to peacefully and definitely settle the boundary problem'', it added.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague _ also known as the World Court _ ruled in 1962 that the 11th-century temple belongs to Cambodia; but both countries claim ownership of a 4.6sqkm surrounding area, where several armed clashes have taken place in recent years.
Cambodia's request for a clarification from the Court follows its failed attempts to bring the conflict to the United Nations Security Council, where it hopes to gain support from sympathetic Western countries, particularly France, its colonial master.
The Abhisit government must be fully prepared to defend Thailand in the World Court, bearing in mind that the Hun Sen government wants to claim ownership of the 4.6sqkm disputed area.
The stakes are high and a misstep could cause Thailand to lose that crucial plot of land. In addition to its request to the World Court, Phnom Penh may also be hoping for stronger support from France, which will soon take the presidency of the 10-member UNSC.