Tuesday, 1 March 2011

UNESCO Rep Meets Cambodian Officials over Preah Vihear Temple Dispute


via CAAI

Cambodian leaders met with a special representative from UNESCO on Monday. On the agenda… damage to the Preah Vihear temple from recent clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops.

The two countries are facing growing diplomatic pressure to end an armed standoff there. For decades, there’s been a border dispute as to which country the temple belongs to. Recent fighting has left 10 people dead.

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his deputy prime minister requested the meetings resume between both countries' world heritage committees.

[Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister]:
"UNESCO and the World Heritage committee must take action to show they are active in fulfilling their duty, and their duty is to actively take part in saving the Preah Vihear temple. The Preah Vihear temple is not only for Cambodia, it is the world's heritage. That means it is for the whole world."

Cambodia has accused Thailand of firing about 400 artillery rounds at the temple.

[Sok An, Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister]:
“It is called a war crime or a crime against religion because they destroyed the pagoda, a crime against the culture through the destruction of the Preah Vihear temple. These are real crimes that were committed by Thailand."

Both sides are continuing a ceasefire they started on February 8.

The area is now empty of civilians, as most have fled the area.

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