Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Thai officials visit Cambodia Saturday to clarify stance on Preah Vihear issue

MCOT English News

BANGKOK, June 23 (TNA) - Thai Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban on Tuesday said he will visit Cambodia Saturday on a mission to clarify Thailand's objection to the listing of the Preah Vihear temple ruins as a World Heritage Site to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) agreed to register Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site of Cambodia in July, 2008.

Mr. Suthep said he and Defence Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan would visit Cambodia to meet Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to stave off any misunderstanding on the Preah Vihear issue between the two neighbouring countries.

He said Thailand and Cambodia had shared common stance to avoid border conflicts and the issue at the moment was not between Thailand and Cambodia, but Thailand and UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit said earlier the government would ask UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to review last year's decision to register Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site when the meets this week in Spain.

He would also propose that the temple be registered jointly as a World Heritage Site by Thailand and Cambodia, not as a unilateral action by Cambodia.

Mr. Suthep said he hoped that after meeting, Mr. Hun Sen would better understand Thailand's stance.

In 1962 the International Court of Justice ruled that Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia, but the most accessible entrance begins at the foot of a mountain in Thailand, and both sides claim overlapping portions of the surrounding territory.

Armed clashes between the two military forces have since then occurred periodically near the temple, especially in a 4.6-square-kilometre disputed area. (TNA)

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