Cambodia confident temple management plan to be accepted by UNESCO

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Cambodia is firmly confident that the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) will officially accept the management plan of Preah Vihear temple proposed in the 35th WHC meeting in Paris on June 19 to 29, said a top government official on Sunday.

“In the next month’s meeting, the World Heritage Committee will make the official decision on the management plan of Preah Vihear temple, which Cambodia submitted in the last year’s annual WHC meeting,” the cabinet minister Sok An, Chairman of the Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO, said Sunday at Phnom Penh International Airport upon his arrival from Paris, where he held talks with Thai Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti on Preah Vihear temple issues under the mediation by the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

“Cambodia has enough legal documents, which are internationally recognized, to support that the temple’s management plan is done in Cambodian territory,” he said, adding that the plan has also been admired by UNESCO for its good and standardized preparation in the last year’s committee meeting.

However, the Bangkok Post online newspaper reported on Sunday that Suwit Khunkitti said the UNESCO has not made decision yet on whether the WHC will debate Cambodia’s management plan.

Suwit Khunkitti said that Thailand and Cambodia would hold more talks over Cambodia’s management plan for the disputed 4.6-square- kilometre area around Preah Vihear temple ahead of the 35th WHC meeting next month.

In response, Sok An said that Cambodia welcomed more meetings with Thailand under the UNESCO arrangements prior to the next month’s WHC meeting in June.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) awarded Preah Vihear temple to Cambodia in 1962 and the temple was enlisted as a World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008.

Since then, both sides have built up military forces along the border and periodic clashes have happened, resulting in the deaths of troops and civilians on both sides.

Source: Xinhua