Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cambodia insists to table temple's management plan at WHC meeting: Thai minister

BANGKOK, May 28 (Xinhua) -- The Cambodian government insisted to put management plan of Preah Vihear Temple on the meeting table of the 35th World Heritage Committee, Thailand's acting Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti said on Saturday.
The caretaker minister said that Phnom Penh rejected a plan proposed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to delay the consideration of management plan for the ancient temple until Thailand and Cambodia finish border demarcation.
Suwit told reporters while he was visiting Chiangmai Zoo that the two-day meeting at the UNESCO's headquarters in Paris ended in deadlock as the Cambodian delegates led by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An were against the idea of postponement of the management plan for Preah Vihear, which was listed as World Heritage Site in 2008.
He said a fresh talks on the issue between Thailand and Cambodia may be re-organized again just before the 35th session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee (WHC) scheduled to be held on June 19-29.
The UNESCO-organised meeting was scheduled prior to the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in an attempt to resolve the two countries differences.
Thailand requested that the WHC defer consideration of Cambodia 's unilateral Preah Vihear management plan until the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rules on Cambodia's complaint and until border demarcation between the two countries is completed.
Cambodian delegations, however, insisted that the country was rightful to propose management plan for the temple and they were against Thailand's proposal on the postponement in which they also asked to amend two or three points.
The Paris-based UN cultural branch said in a statement following the meeting that the UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova expressed her disappointment on Friday after Thai and Cambodian delegations failed to reach an agreement on disputes over the Temple of Preah Vihear.
"I appeal to both countries to pursue efforts towards achieving a common agreement before the World Heritage Committee session in June in a spirit of cooperation and constructive dialogue," the UNESCO chief said.
Last month Cambodia asked the ICJ to clarify a 1962 ruling on the ancient temple on its disputed border with Thailand following recent armed clashes between the two neighboring countries.
The border between Thailand and Cambodia has never been completely demarcated. Although the International Court of Justice in 1962 awarded the temple to Cambodia, but Thailand claims the ownership of 4.6 square km of scrub next to the temple.
As Cambodia successfully listed the temple as a World Heritage Site in July 2008, border tension flared up, triggering military build-up on both sides and sporadic clashes.

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