Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Surapong won't change Preah Vihear legal team

Sept 21, 2011
Bangkok Post

NEW YORK : Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul has insisted he will not change the Thai legal team dealing with Cambodia's move to seek International Court of Justice clarification of its 1962 ruling on the Preah Vihear temple.

The Thai legal team established by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government is led by Thai Ambassador to the Hague Virachai Plasai. Three foreign lawyers, from France, Canada and Australia, were also included in the team.

Cambodia submitted its request to the ICJ to interpret its 1962 verdict, and to take urgent measures to prevent Thai aggression on Cambodian soil, in April this year after relations between the two countries soured in the wake of Cambodia's bid to have Preah Vihear listed as a World Heritage site.

Mr Surapong said he would seek parliamentary approval to support his challenge against Cambodia at the ICJ.

He said he needed to do this because it was required by Section 190 of the constitution, which states that any international treaty and agreement must be approved by parliament first.

The ICJ has asked both Thailand and Cambodia to submit their written observations by Nov 21.

The ICJ will deliberate on the 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area around the Preah Vihear temple. The process may take up to 18 months from the submission deadline.

However, Mr Surapong said Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen told his Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra during her visit to Cambodia last week that if the ICJ decides the disputed area near Preah Vihear belongs to Thailand, Cambodia will cede it unconditionally.

He said Cambodia wanted to finish land demarcation as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the cabinet yesterday dissolved a panel on Preah Vihear issues.

Former natural resources and environment minister Suwit Khunkitti, who led the panel, withdrew Thailand's membership of the World Heritage Convention after it failed to stop the World Heritage Committee from considering Cambodia's management plan for the temple and its surrounds.

In Bangkok, Democrat MP for Surat Thani Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday said he was ready to respond to any motion filed against him in the House over his meetings with Hun Sen and Sok An, Cambodia's deputy prime minister.

Pheu Thai MPs have planned to file a motion against him in the House of Representatives to question the transparency of the meetings between Mr Suthep and the Cambodian PM and his deputy during the Abhisit administration.

Mr Suthep said the public should closely monitor negotiations between the Thai and Cambodian governments regarding overlapping areas claimed by both countries, and in particular those relating to the overlapping 27,000 sq km of the Gulf of Thailand which is believed to be rich in oil and gas reserves.

All international negotiations related to economies and boundaries must first be approved by the parliament, added Mr Suthep.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Court has allowed eight red shirt leaders to travel to Cambodia. However, they are required to report to the court when they arrive back in Bangkok next Tuesday.

The court yesterday approved a second trip to Cambodia for six red shirt leaders _ Natthawut Saikua, Kokaew Pikulthong, Yoswaris Chuklom, Wiphuthalaeng Phatthanaphumthai, Nisit Sinthuphrai and Phumkitti Sukchindathong.

The six will travel to Cambodia on Thursday to take part in a friendly football match between Thai and Cambodian politicians on Saturday.

No comments: