Home > Local News > Thailand to urge UNESCO to review Preah Vihear’s World Heritage listing

Thailand to urge UNESCO to review Preah Vihear’s World Heritage listing

BANGKOK, Feb 10 – Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on
Thursday said his government will dispatch representatives to Paris
next week to urge the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to review its listing of the ancient
Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site as the listing has caused
a conflict between Thailand and Cambodia.

The Thai premier said the two representatives are Minister of Natural
Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti and former Thai ambassador to
the United Nations Assada Chaiyanam, in his capacity as chairman of the
Thailand-Cambodia Joint Boundary Commission (JBC). They will leave
Bangkok for Paris early next week.

Mr Abhisit said the trip will highlight Thailand’s stance that the
meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) is the major cause
of problem as Cambodia was pressured to come up with a Preah Vihear
management plan. Therefore, the Cambodian Prime Minister wanted the
intervention of a third party to help clear the border dispute as it
has to send the temple’s management plan to the WHC.  

The Thai prime minister said the UNESCO must help defuse the tension
and Thailand has its way to solve the problem if the world cultural
body fails to heed its suggestion.

“If UNESCO helps defuse this, both sides (Thailand and Cambodia) will
be able to talk without pressure,” Mr Abhisit said. “There is no need
to wait until the June meeting of WHC; the committee should realise the
problem and play a role in solving it.”

As Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that he would not hold
any bilateral talk on the dispute with Thailand and is asking for
intervention from the United Nations or the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN), Mr Abhisit said Thailand has made it stance
clear and clarified the facts on the border dispute and latest
skirmishes to all concerned parties.

Mr Abhisit expressed confidence that those who followed the incident,
both ASEAN and the United Nations, would support bilateral talks
between Thailand and Cambodia.

Meanwhile, Thai foreign ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi reasserted
Thursday that bilateral talks is the best solution to end the current
conflict even though the Cambodian premier has rejected it.

Mr Thani also expressed hope that the foreign ministers of both
kingdoms may meet and hold talks as they go to New York to clarify the
matter with the 15-member United Nations Security Council.

Regarding the French offer to provide access to maps of the region it
had made in the early 20th century should any country wish to study or
make copies of them, the Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated that
Thailand welcomed the offer.

“In fact, Thailand had in the past received good cooperation from the
Quai d’Orsay, which gave Thai officials access to their archives
several times. Should there be additional maps that Thailand has not
yet examined, it would certainly consider examining such maps without
prejudice to its boundary claims,” Mr Thani said. (MCOT online news)

Categories: Local News
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