Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Cambodian official hails inscription of Preah Vihear Temple as World Heritage Site


PHNOM PENH, July 8 (Xinhua) -- Senior Cambodian government official here Tuesday celebrated the decision by the World Heritage Committee to list the Preah Vihear Temple as UNESCO World Heritage Site.

"The listing of the Preah Vihear Temple is the success of civilization and culture for the Khmer people," Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Hor Namhong told a press conference at his ministry.

The success didn't break the relationship and cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand, even as Thailand cancelled the joint communiqu on the Preah Vihear Temple issues, he added.

Earlier Tuesday morning in Quebec, Canada, all the 21 members of the World Heritage Committee during its 32nd session unanimously approved the Cambodian application to list the temple as World Heritage Site, but the Thai side still opposed it, he added.

Thailand didn't lose a centimeter of land to Cambodia and Cambodia didn't lose either for listing the Preah Vihear Temple, he said.

Cambodia and Thailand have plan to plant the demarcation posts because the two have clear border and geographic lines according to their treaty, he added.

At the Preah Vihear Temple, the gate to Thailand is still closed but will be opened when the situation is stable, he said.

"So please waiting until situation is stable," he added.

Cambodia shut up the gate at the temple after Thais conducted demonstration around. It also deployed police at the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh because possible anti-Thai parade might happen there.

The World Heritage Committee's action followed two weeks of controversy surrounding the position of the Thai government concerning the proposed listing by Cambodia.

As recently as June 18, the Thai government had announced its support of the listing. However, following a decision of a Thai court to temporarily block the effort, the Thai government withdrew its support.

Fortunately for Cambodia, last minute efforts by the Thai delegation to delay the vote and to have joint management of the temple failed at the current session of the committee.

On June 15, 1962, the International Court of Justice decided to award the ancient Angkorian site at the Cambodian-Thai border to Cambodia over the protest of Thailand.

Editor: Bi Mingxin

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