February 24, 2011
A special envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will make a three-day official visit to Cambodia starting from Sunday, a government official said.
Phay Siphan, spokesman of the Office of the Council of Ministers said that Koichiro Matsuura, former director general of UNESCO will arrive in Cambodia on Sunday and will stay here until Tuesday.
Phay Siphan said he is not aware of his full program of activities while staying in Cambodia, except his planned meeting with Sok An, deputy prime minister and minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers.
Local media has quoted a government source as saying that Koichiro Matsuura will make a short visit to Preah Vihear Temple on Tuesday, but Phay Siphan said he has had no information on his visit there.
Last week, Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO announced that she will task Matsuura as her envoy to travel to Thailand and Cambodia to discuss with the two countries' prime ministers in safeguarding of the World Heritage site.
Matsuura, a former Director-General of UNESCO and a former Chair of the World Heritage Committee will travel to Bangkok on Feb. 25 before flying to Phnom Penh on Feb. 27.
His main focus will be safeguarding of the Preah Vihear temple that was listed as the World Heritage site in 2008.
The temple and its nearby ground were hit with bullets and bomblets during the latest fighting that broke out on Feb. 4-7 between Cambodia and Thailand.
In a statement from Paris, Irina Bokova has voiced concern over clashes around the Temple and she stressed that "the world's cultural heritage should never be a cause for conflict."
Cambodia and Thailand ratified the 1972 World Heritage Convention in which it says states parties undertake to recognize that "such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate".