Thursday, 3 July 2008

Confusion over Preah Vihear Temple continues

The Nation

Confusion over Cambodia's bid to list Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage site continued on Thursday when Unesco in Bangkok said it referred to a wrong date in its letter to the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee.

Sheldon Saeffer, director of Unesco (Bangkok), said his July 1 letter to the Senate committee should have made reference to the June 18 Thai Cabinet endorsement of Cambodia's bid to have the Hindu temple be listed as Unesco's World Heritage site.

"I would like to clarify on the matter of fact I wrote to the Chairman of the Senate's Foreign Affair Committee based on the information I have from Paris. The information of the date of the approval in the document was not quite accurate.

"I'm told and the final agreement was signed in both Phnom Penh and Bangkok on June 18. So an original agreement that I referred was a informal document but clearly pending cabinet approval in June."

Saeffer's letter pointed to the May 22 meeting in Paris when Noppadon "unofficially" endorsed Cambodia's bid.

On June 18, Noppadon's pledge became "official" when the Thai Cabinet endorsed the pledge made in Paris.

The move sparked an outcry from street protestors and the opposition who raised the issue during a censure debate in the Parliament.

The biggest set back came this past weekend when the Administrative Court issued an injunction to the Cabinet's endorsement. The government since then changed its stance in order to comply with the Court's order.

Noppadon summoned Saeffer to protest over the letter Saeffer replied to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

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