Cambodia Denies Claims That Reinforcements Sent to Preah Vihear

Senior Cambodian military officials on Friday denied claims by Thai military sources, as reported in the Bangkok Post, that Cam­bodia has deployed military trucks to transport supplies, food rations and reinforcements to areas in the vicinity of the Preah Vihear temple.

The claims have emerged ahead of Monday’s expected ruling by the International Court of Justice regarding ownership of a disputed 4.6 square km plot of land around Preah Vihear temple.

According to the Bangkok Post, the Suranaree Task Force of Thailand’s 2nd Army Region filed a complaint on Tuesday with the “Township Border Commit­tee, which is responsible for overseeing the situation along the Thai-Cambodia border.”

“[T]he source claimed the Thai army believe the Cambodians were sending reinforcements to the border in preparation for the International Court of Justice’s [ICJ] ruling on the Preah Vihear temple on Monday,” the Bang­kok Post reported.

Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh said on Friday that the reports were false: “We do not send extra troops to Preah Vihear temple.”

“Recently, we brought food to provide for military families who were in difficulty,” General Banh said without elaborating.

Preah Vihear provincial military commander Som Bopharath said that no additional troops have been deployed and that a good barometer of the calm situation along the border was the region’s cross-border markets.

“Markets along the Thailand-Cambodia border are still operating normally,” Brigadier General Bopharath said.

On Friday, a group of some 30 members of the ultra-nationalist Thai Patriots Network attempted to march to the Bangkok home of Prime Minister Yingluck Shin­a­watra to demand that Thailand withdraw from membership of the ICJ as a pre-emptive move in case the court rules in Cambo­dia’s favor.

Chaiwat Sinsuwong, who led the delegation, which failed to gain access to Ms. Yingluck’s residence, said that if Thailand were to withdraw from the ICJ before Monday, Bangkok would be under no obligation to comply with the court’s ruling.

On Thursday night, Prime Minister Hun Sen said on state-TV that regardless of how the court ruled, both countries must respect the ICJ decision and maintain peace and stability along the border.

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