Thailand to stay in World Heritage committee

WHS#1224 Preah Vihear | Tourist Maps | Travel Guide | Photo & Video | News Update

Thailand will remain a member of the World Heritage Committee and will ask it to wait for a ruling from the International Court of Justice before considering Cambodia’s plan to manage the World Heritage-listed Preah Vihear temple.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul announced the decision after attending a meeting of the government’s committee on the World Heritage Convention on Thursday.

Others at the meeting included Deputy Prime Minister Kowit Wattana, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Preecha Rengsomboonsuk and Culture Minister Sukumol Khunploem.

Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul (Photo AFP)

Mr Surapong said Thailand would benefit by retaining membership of the World Heritage Committee. The national committee on the World Heritage Convention will report its decision to the cabinet meeting on Oct 18.

Former natural resources and environment minister Suwit Khunkitti announced Thailand’s intention to withdraw from the World Heritage Committee last year in protest at Cambodia’s proposed management plan for the Preah Vihear temple and the disputed border area immediately adjoining it.

However, Mr Surapong said the announced withdrawal had not been made official. The process required written confirmation from the Thai prime minister or the Thai Foreign Ministry.

Mr Surapong said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) clearly still considers Thailand a member of its World Heritage Committee because it has offered assistance for the restoration of historical sites in flood-stricken Ayutthaya province.

The foreign minister said he had proposed to today’s meeting that the national committee on the World Heritage Convention wait for a ruling from the International Court of Justice on Cambodia’s complaint about the territorial dispute at the Preah Vihear temple before planning any further action.

He said the Thai government would write to Unesco, asking that the World Heritage Committee wait for the ruling of the international court before considering Camboadia’s management plan for Preah Vihear.

News link