Written by Sebastian Strangio
Thursday, 18 June 2009
THAILAND will ask UNESCO to review its decision to list Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site when the world body meets in Spain next week, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Wednesday, according to Thai state media.
Abhisit has ordered the Thai World Heritage Committee representative Suwit Khunkitti to object to the 2008 listing of the Angkorian temple when the committee meets for its 33rd session in Seville, Spain, from Monday.
According to the report from the Thai News Agency, Thailand will protest on the grounds that the listing has brought about conflict and losses between the two countries - something that runs counter to UNESCO's aim in having international heritage sites.
"I personally want to see peace in the area and peoples of both countries receive benefit from the historical heritage site," Abhisit said.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that with the11th-century temple already inscribed on UNESCO's list, the international community was unlikely to fall for Thailand's "uncivilised" ruse.
He added that he was unsurprised by Abhisit's announcement, saying the Thais had tried various means - including a troop buildup and public demonstrations - to block the listing of the temple prior to its official inscription as a World Heritage site in July 2008.
"They have been making challenges since the first-round inscription," Phay Siphan said.
"Since that time, the Thais have challenged [the listing] in the same way, using their own unilateral maps."