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Authorities from Cambodia and Thailand decided to seek dialogue on protection of the disputed Preah Vihear Temple at a meeting in the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on May 25, UNESCO said on Friday.
The UN world heritage watchdog attributed the convergence to a mission by the UNESCO special envoy for Preah Vihear, Koichiro Matsuura, to Bangkok, capital of Thailand, and Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia at the end of February.
UNESCO Director-general Irina Bokova said Matsuura's mission helped to "open the way for further dialogue on the effective conservation of Preah Vihear," which will be the main purpose of the discussions in Paris.
Thailand and Cambodia have long had disputes over the sovereign authority of the temple, with both sides claiming actual control of the region.
In 1962, the Hague-based International Court of Justice ruled that Cambodia possessed the authority of Preah Vihear, which sparked outrage in Thailand. Since the UNESCO added the temple to its World Heritage List in 2008, the two countries' disputes have escalated into several bloody clashes, leaving part of the temple destroyed.