Hun Sen Sends Message for Border Soldiers to Maintain Peace

Speaking to soldiers along the Thai border via video link, Prime Minister Hun Sen on Friday urged them to maintain peace with their neighbor ahead of a forthcoming ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that could settle the fate of contested land near Preah Vihear temple.

The ICJ is scheduled to issue a judgment on November 11 on Cambodia’s request that it decide who owns a 4.6 square km plot of land beside the temple, land over which the two countries have fought several brief but deadly clashes in recent years.

“When the ICJ releases its judgment on November 11, 2013, whether its meaning is to the advantage of Cambodia or Thailand, the two governments will maintain friendship and a cooperative stance between the two nations and armies, and will maintain peace, security and safety along the Cambodian-Thai border,” the prime minister said, according to a statement issued by the Council of Ministers.

Mr. Hun Sen also said that his children would soon be visiting soldiers along the border bearing gifts but did no say which of his children or specify when the visit will take place.

“The children of Samdech [Hun Sen] will bring gifts from Samdech’s family to the military families living along the Cambodian-Thai border very soon,” he said.

According to Thai media, the Thai government has also taken a number of steps to prevent the outbreak of hostilities along the border or civil unrest in the case of an unfavorable verdict.

According to The Bangkok Post, the Thai military has installed loudspeakers near Preah Vihear temple to communicate with Cambodian soldiers on the opposite side of the disputed border in the case of any provocative acts by Thai troops.

According to Thailand’s The Nation, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Friday instructed commanders of the country’s armed forces to brief their subordinates about the court case ahead of the judgment. At the same time, Thai authorities near Preah Vihear were reportedly advising residents to clean out and prepare any bunkers they may have in case of renewed violence.

At Thailand’s request, the two countries have also set up a working group jointly headed by their foreign affairs ministers to prepare for the ICJ’s announcement and manage its aftermath.

The two ministers and their respective delegations will meet Monday in Poipet City.

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