Monday, 28 February 2011

Thai PM: UNESCO Agrees not to Let Temple Issue Raise Border Tension

via CAAI

2011-02-27 18:56:16
Web Editor: Xu

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday that UNESCO had agreed that the issue of Preah Vihear temple, which is a World Heritage site, should not further raise tension on the Thai-Cambodian border.

"UNESCO has agreed with us that the World Heritage issue should not become a problem that creates tension or increases the risk of clashes or using of violence again," Abhisit said in his weekly national televised address.

Abhisit on Friday met with Koichiro Matsuura, special envoy of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) at the Government House in Bangkok on the border dispute over a 4. 6-square kilometer plot of land around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple, which belongs to Cambodia and was awarded as a World Heritage site on July 7, 2008.

Cambodia plans to submit its proposal for administering the disputed border area to UNESCO's World Heritage committee in June this year.

Abhisit said the administration plan covers territory claimed by both Thailand and Cambodia.

"This is an idea to say that at the end, if UNESCO does not accept this fact, the tension will continue forever," the premier said.

He said he has let Matsuura, who visited Phnom Penh after Bangkok, know about this position of Thailand.

Last Sunday in the same program, Abhisit said UNESCO could help alleviate the tension along the border by not proceeding with the administration plan, and that the organization should first let Bangkok and Phnom Penh settle the demarcation of the troubled area through their bilateral mechanism.

A series of crossfire between Thai and Cambodian soldiers earlier this month inflicted casualties on both sides and forced thousands of local villagers to flee their homes.

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