Sunday, 13 February 2011

Thai PM: UNESCO shall not proceed with Cambodia's temple plan

via CAAI

BANGKOK, Feb. 13 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Sunday said UNESCO could help alleviate the border tension between Thailand and Cambodia by not proceeding with any decision on administering a disputed area around a centuries-old temple.

Abhisit said the tension arose as Phnom Penh tried to push through with UNESCO, or the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and World Heritage committee its administering plan of a disputed area around the 11th century Preah Vihear temple.

He claimed that Cambodia needed to have its administering plan endorsed now as Phnom Penh unilaterally has the temple enlisted as a World Heritage site on July 7, 2008.

Both countries lay claim to a 4.6-square kilometer plot of land around the temple. "In the meantime, UNESCO or World Heritage should alleviate any pressure on either Cambodia or Thailand by not proceeding with any administering plan on the area disputed by Thailand and Cambodia," Abhisit said in his weekly national televised address.

He said Bangkok and Phnom Penh shall first settle the demarcation of the troubled area through an existing memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the two nations in 2000 and a Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC)

He said Bangkok could not pull out its troops from the area before a demarcation settlement, a move seemed to be preferred now by his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.

Abhisit said Hun Sen had tried to raise the border tension as an international issue by calling for the attention of the UN Security Council.

He insisted that the issue be resolved bilaterally through the MOU and JBC.

Bangkok will be explaining its position on the issue to the UN Security Council, which calls a meeting on the border tension in New York on Feb. 14, and UNESCO and World Heritage, Abhisit said.

The premier said though the border area remained peaceful in the past week, Thai soldiers were still closely monitoring the situation.

A series of crossfire between Thai and Cambodian soldiers earlier this month caused some casualties on both sides and thousands of local Thais had to be evacuated from their homes.

Editor: Deng Shasha

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