Saturday, 12 March 2011

Thailand and Cambodia agree to meet at UNESCO on temple dispute

via CAAI

Mar 11, 2011

Bangkok - Cambodian and Thai officials are to meet May 25 at UNESCO's Paris headquarters to discuss the Preah Vihear temple, which sparked a deadly border clash this year.

The meeting is the outcome of a visit by UNESCO special envoy for Preah Vihear, Koichiro Matsuura, who travelled to Bangkok and Cambodia late last month, UNESCO said in a statement issued in Paris.

'I am very pleased with the success of Mr Matsuura's mission, and I am very encouraged by his talks with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva of Thailand and Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia, which have helped open the way for further dialogue on the effective conservation of Preah Vihear,' UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova said. 'This will be the main aim of discussions in Paris on May 25.'

Bokova did not specify who would represent Thailand and Cambodia at the May meeting.

The 11th-century Hindu temple was put on UNESCO's list of world heritage sites in 2008 despite objections by Thailand that the land adjacent to the site was still the subject of a border dispute.

Thailand has asked UNESCO to postpone the world heritage listing process of the temple on its border with Cambodia until the territorial dispute was settled.

Thai and Cambodian troops clashed February 4-7 around Preah Vihear vicinity, killing at least 10 people.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belonged to Cambodia but stopped short of determining the border demarcation in the contested area.

Both countries claim a 4.6-square-kilometre plot of land near the temple, which has been included under Cambodia's management plan for UNESCO's World Heritage Committee.

Both sides have beefed up their forces near the temple, 450 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, since July 2008, leading to several border skirmishes over the past two and a half years.

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