Saturday, 8 November 2008

UNESCO Begins Demarcating Preah Vihear Temple

PHNOM PENH, Nov 7 (Bernama) -- A UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) delegation has begun marking out the boundary of the Preah Vihear temple, said China's Xinhua news agency quoting national media reports Friday.

The Preah Vihear temple was listed as a World Heritage site in July and has since been at the centre of a border dispute between Cambodia, which owns the monument, and Thailand, where nationalists claim the 11th-century ruins were unfairly taken from the Thais.

Both sides have faced off over contested territory near the temple and elsewhere along the border, with troops opening fire on each other last month in a brief clash that left at least four soldiers dead.

Although the border has remained quiet since then, tensions remain high and Cambodian military officials said they would protect the UNESCO team.

"We are ready to provide security for the delegation when they post markers at the temple," Brigade 12 commander Srey Doek was quoted by the Phnom Penh Post as saying.

"Security is good and well-organized," he added.

Meas Yoeun, deputy military commander of Preah Vihear province, said that after the UNESCO had demarcated the temple border, troops guarding it would be withdrawn to another site.

"We will remove (the troops), but we are waiting for orders from higher levels," he said.

He added that both Cambodian and Thai soldiers at the front line are considering declaring the demarcated area a protected zone after the departure of the UNESCO team.


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