Home > Local News > PM urges Unesco to end chaos [ World heritage listing ’cause of the problem’ ]

PM urges Unesco to end chaos [ World heritage listing ’cause of the problem’ ]

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is calling on Unesco to help defuse
the border conflict between Thailand and Cambodia by delisting the
Preah Vihear temple as a world heritage site and scrapping a Cambodian
management plan for the temple.
Thai troops dig in near the Preah Vihear temple in Si Sa Ket province. JETJARASNA RANONG
Mr Abhisit said the two sides had come under pressure because of the
listing and the management plan and this was the source of the problem.
It was therefore up to Unesco to ease the pressure stemming from the
management plan, which is due to be tabled with the Unesco World
Heritage Committee in June.
“I believe if Unesco manages to defuse tensions, the two sides would
agree to hold talks without pressure. The two countries want their
people on the border to live peacefully,” Mr Abhisit said.
Mr Abhisit responded yesterday to a statement by Cambodian Prime
Minister Hun Sen that he did not want to enter into talks with Thailand
over the issue and the conflict was a “real war”, not an armed clash,
by saying Cambodia wanted to intensify the tension because it was under
pressure from its management plan for the Preah Vihear temple.
The prime minister brushed aside calls for intervention by a third
country, particularly France, to resolve the border row. The conflict
must be ended through bilateral mechanisms, he said.
There is no need for France to intervene as Asean is ready to play a
role in supporting efforts to hold talks to end the conflict, Mr
Abhisit said, adding he was confident the United Nations also wanted
the two sides to hold negotiations.
Mr Abhisit stressed Thailand needed to ensure that the facts were presented to the international community.
He believed the international community would support bilateral
efforts by the two countries to resolve the conflict once the facts
were clarified.
Mr Abhisit said photos of Preah Vihear being used by Cambodian
troops to mount attacks on Thailand would be of advantage to Thailand.
The photos proved that Cambodia had failed to comply with its intention
of listing the temple as a world heritage site.
Mr Abhisit said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suwit
Khunkitti and the head of the Thai-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission
(JBC), Asda Jayanama, would fly to Paris today to explain the border
situation to Unesco director-general Irina Bokova.
Thailand insists Unesco should not consider the plan until a solution to the border conflict is found.
Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban yesterday denied that
Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya accused Russia, India and China of
taking sides with Cambodia in the conflict with Thailand. Mr Kasit made
the statement at a seminar on the Thai-Cambodia conflict on Wednesday.
Mr Suthep said Mr Kasit might have talked about how divided a United
Nations Security Council meeting could be in their support for Thailand
and Cambodia.
Mr Suwit said yesterday the Foreign Affairs Ministry had told the
Thai ambassador to France, as head of Thailand’s permanent delegation
to Unesco, to explain the facts to Unesco authorities.
He said he was also preparing information to explain to the Unesco
director-general the adverse repercussions the listing of Preah Vihear
as a world heritage site had had on relations between Thailand and
Mr Suwit said the listing of the temple was not in line with the
requirements of the World Heritage Convention in that the border land
where the temple is located is not clearly demarcated and no proper
management plan is ready.
Most importantly, the Hindu temple is on an overlapping border area
claimed by the two countries and the listing should have been given
approval by both Thailand and Cambodia, Mr Suwit said. He also said the
Unesco plan to send a mission to inspect the Preah Vihear temple must
receive consent from Thailand.
Mr Suwit warned that Unesco could be seen as lacking neutrality by not obtaining Thailand’s consent.
Second Army chief Thawatchai Samutsakhon yesterday said the border
situation had improved since soldiers from the two countries had held
their fire.
He said the JBC was expected to meet shortly for talks to find a
solution to the border row and that villagers who fled their villages
to escape fighting should be able to return home in the next few days.
The government yesterday issued a statement promising that it would
not commit any acts of aggression and do its utmost to exercise
It said the government would take measures to help people affected
by the clashes and to rebuild and repair their damaged properties.
The government said it would explain its intention to resolve the conflict peacefully at a UNSC meeting on Monday.
The government will ensure the border conflict does not affect the good relations between Thais and Cambodians.
Bangkok Post
Categories: Local News
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