Hor Namhong Explains ICJ Ruling to Preah Vihear Troops

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong visited Cambodian troops stationed at Preah Vihear on Saturday, where he expounded on the recent U.N. court verdict regarding a disputed area of borderland with Thailand.

Roughly 1,000 soldiers stationed near Preah Vihear temple turned out to hear Mr. Namhong’s address, in which the foreign minister cautioned them against conflict and explained the decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to award the whole of the temple promontory to Cambodia.

“Cambodians know what war has brought us,” Mr. Namhong told the soldiers. “We don’t want to solve problems via wars. We love peace.”

That is why the government approached the ICJ in 2011 to deliberate on which country had the rights to the disputed territory, he added.

“The verdict in November 2013 was very important to determine the area around Preah Vihear temple,” the foreign minister said.

“The struggling at the International Court of Justice since 28 April, 2011, until 11 November [2013], these more than two years were very tough. I would like to tell the soldiers here the Thais vehemently objected and requested the court not to interpret the verdict,” he added.

The November 11 ICJ ruling determined that Cambodia has sovereignty over the entire territory of the promontory of Preah Vihear, and ordered Thailand to withdraw their troops. However, it was an incomplete victory for Cambodia, as the court rejected its request to define the official borderline in the area or grant it another nearby hill.

Directly after the ruling, Mr. Namhong called the court’s decision a “present” to Cambodia but conceded they had not achieved everything they had hoped for.

On Saturday, Mr. Namhong said the hill that the ICJ failed to rule on would be discussed at a future time.

“In the future we’ll talk about Phnom Trop,” he said, without elaborating.

Major General Srey Doek, commander of Division 3 at Preah Vihear said Sunday that it was not unusual for government ministers to come address the troops, adding of the verdict: “Both governments [Thai and Cambodian] are trying to work together to keep the situation simple.”

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