Contested temple land awarded to Cambodia

Contested temple land awarded to Cambodia
The ICJ's decision, which is final, is an interpretation of a 1962 ruling which awarded the ownership of Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday ruled that the area around the ancient Preah Vihear temple belongs to Cambodia, two years after bloody clashes broke out between Cambodia and Thailand over the territory.

The court, when announcing the verdict, said Thailand had to withdraw its security forces from the area, but also stressed that both countries "have a duty to settle any dispute between them by peaceful means". It also reminded both to protect the World Heritage site.

The decision, which is final and cannot be subject to appeal, is an interpretation of a 1962 ruling which awarded the ownership of the temple to Cambodia.

The promontory identified yesterday to be under Cambodia's jurisdiction, however, forms a fraction of the 4.6 sq km stretch of land around the temple contested by the two countries.

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, in a televised statement after the announcement, stressed that the area awarded to Cambodia was very small and that both countries would work together to comply with the ruling.

She said she would also order the security forces to ensure peace and stability at the border.

"It's good enough," Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, who was at the hearing in The Hague, told reporters.

"This is a very long decision by the court that we need to study very carefully," he was quoted as saying by the French news agency, Agence France-Presse. "The two countries need to negotiate between themselves," he added.

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