Home > World News > Thailand wants border settled before agreeing to temple plan

Thailand wants border settled before agreeing to temple plan

Thailand is refusing to back down on its decision to demarcate the border with Cambodia before accepting Phnom Penh‘s management plan for Preah Vihear, a government minister says.

Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit Khunkitti is scheduled to meet with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to discuss the issue this month at a date yet to be fixed.

“The plan to develop the world heritage site should be carried out by both countries,” Mr Suwit said.

“I see no reason why one country should go it alone. The issue of the border must be cleared up first before other steps can be taken.

“We do hope to see a fruitful resolution [to the issue] before July’s World Heritage Committee meeting in Bahrain,” he said.

Mr
Suwit and Sok An are meeting as part of efforts to overcome the
deadlock on the management plan. Thailand last year opposed the plan at
a World Heritage Committee meeting in Brazil, saying it would encroach
on areas over which both countries claim territorial rights.

The
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation
(Unesco) inscribed the Hindu temple as a world heritage site in 2008
against objections from Bangkok. Thailand says parts of the temple,
including its entrance, are on Thai soil so it would be best if the temple were listed by both countries.

Unesco’s listing of the site requires Phnom Penh to submit a plan to manage the area at and around the temple.

The Cambodian deputy prime minister is also scheduled to meet with Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban to discuss land demarcation in disputed areas when he is in Bangkok.

No construction or buildings in the 4.6 square
kilometre area claimed by the two countries is allowed until
demarcation issues are settled under an agreement between Thailand and
Cambodia. Cambodian nationals have gone ahead and built some facilities
in the disputed area.

Vasu Poshyanondana, a member of the
non-governmental International Council on Monuments and Sites, said the
Thai working group on world heritage issues should point this out to
the WHC.

He cautioned that if the WHC approved the Cambodian plan, Phnom Penh would have full authority to manage the temple and the area defined in the plan.

Bangkok Post
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Categories: World News
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