Monday, 14 February 2011 06:55 DAP-NEWS
The Press and Quick Reaction Unit (PRU) of the Office of the Council of Ministers (OCM) of the Royal Government of Cambodia totally rejects the call, as reported in the Bangkok Post and also published in the National News Bureau of Thailand on 11 February 2011, by Abhisit Vejjajiva, Prime Minister of Thailand, asks UNESCO to remove the Temple of Preah Vihear from the World Heritage List, claiming that the delisting of the Temple of Preah Vihear would remove tensions between Cambodia and Thailand.
The PRU strongly rejects the false statement by Abhisit and we would like to draw the national and international public attention that the “real tension” has been caused by Thailand’s long-standing territorial invasion. The PRU, therefore, would like to recall the following:
In 1953-54, Thailand invaded and occupied the Temple of Preah Vihear, taking advantage of the ending of the French protectorate over Cambodia, only to be ordered out of the Temple of Preah Vihear and the areas in its vicinity by the 15 June 1962 Judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ);
During the 1970’s, Thailand drew a secret, unilateral map pushing the frontier line deep inside Cambodia, and claimed that there is an “overlapping area” of 4.6 sq.kms in the vicinity of the Temple of Preah Vihear. In fact, between Cambodia and Thailand there exists a clear international frontier line.
More interestingly, in July 2007 during the 31st Session of the World Heritage Committee in Christchurch, New Zealand, Thailand publicly used once again its secret, unilateral and internationally unrecognized map to protest against the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List. But this faked map was categorically rejected by the World Heritage Committee.
The recent real war of aggression against Cambodia from 4 to 7 February 2011, like the previous attacks of 15 July 2008 and 3-4 April 2009, which has been fuelled by Thai severe internal political turmoil, is just the latest attempt to turn into reality this secret unilateral map, which has no international legitimacy, and to oust Cambodian from the “Thai so-called disputed, overlapping or 4.6 sq.km area”.
In terms of the Convention 1972 and its Operational Guidelines, it is worthwhile recalling that the decision to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List is res judicata and therefore irreversible.
The statement by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, therefore, to delist Cambodia’s Temple of Preah Vihear from the World Heritage List proves that he lacks knowledge about the World Heritage and his move is opposing the World Heritage concept.
Consequently, it is not possible both a legal and practical point of view to delist the Temple of Preah Vihear from the World Heritage List. Moreover, as stated by the Director General of UNESCO on 10 February, 2011, that “The World’s cultural heritage should never be a cause for conflict”.
In short, it is clear that the Thai’s continued misinterpretation of inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage List is to justify Thai’s claims only, which violates the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that the Temple belongs to Cambodia. Moreover, such Thai political maneuver is to erase Cambodia’s international boundary line by implementing Thailand’s secret and unilateral map so as to achieve its ambition of invading Cambodian territorial integrity.