BANGKOK, Feb 19 - Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Saturday said the UNESCO chief agreed with Thailand that the management plan of the ancient Preah Vihear temple should not proceed until the border demarcation is concluded and that its special envoy will visit Bangkok and Phnom Penh next week to discuss the renewed border conflict.
The Thai premier made remarks as he talked with Irina Bokova, director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) by telephone over the tension between Thailand and Cambodia as a result of the listing of the Hindu temple as a World Heritage Site.
Mr Abhisit said the world body chief understands the situation and agreed with Thailand that the Preah Vihear management plan should not be conducted now as long as there is no conclusion to the Thai-Cambodian border conflict and clear demarcation which should be reached under the framework of the 2000 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and the Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Commission (JBC).
The UNESCO director-general will also send Mr Koichiro Matsuura, former UNESCO Director-General, in the capacity of the agency's special envoy on Thai-Cambodian dispute, to Bangkok and Phnom Penh next week to hear clarification from both sides, but will not visit the disputed border area, according to Mr Abhisit, who said he will talk with the Japanese envoy by himself.
The Thai premier stated he believes UNESCO does not want the conflict to be prolonged until the next meeting of the World Heritage Committee which is scheduled to be held in Bahrain in June. He said Thailand also urged the world agency to listen to the kingdom as it had no hidden agenda but wasconcerned about the well-being and the peace of people living along the border.
Following rumours that China and Vietnam had sent their troops to help Cambodia, Mr Abhisit dismissed the notion, saying no country wanted to intervene to worsen the situation.
As the Cambodina Prime Minister Hun Sen proposed Thailand to sign a permanent ceasefire agreement under the witness of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN chair, the Thai leader reasserted there is no clear detail on the matter and he still does not know how such a permanent ceasefire would be initiated.
The Thai prime minister reiterated that Thailand has never started shooting and that it has the right to protect the kingdom's sovereignty when being invaded. (MCOT online news)