Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tourism Indochina: UN flag to fly at Preah Vihear temple

UN flag to fly at Preah Vihear temple. The UNESCO in Cambodia has decided to fly flags with the UN World Heritage logo and national Cambodian flags at Preah Vihear temple to protect the ancient structure from damage caused by possible gunfire from Thailand during an ongoing border row with Cambodia, officials announced yesterday, newspapers report.

Tourism Indochina: UN flag to fly at Preah Vihear temple
(Tourism Indochina: Date : 2008-10-27):

Hang Sot, general director of the Preah Vihear National Authority, said that UNESCO and Cambodian officials agreed during a Wednesday meeting that both the UN and national Cambodian flags will be flown at the entrance to Preah Vihear temple and on its five masonry spires in the near future, Rasmei Kampuchea reports. The agreement came after Cambodia and Thai soldiers exchanged gunfire Oct 15 in an escalating standoff that began when Preah Vihear temple was listed as a Cambodian World Heritage Site in mid July. Bullets and shrapnel from Thai aggressors have already damaged stone steps, lion statues and other parts of the temple, Rasmei Kampuchea reports. "Last week, we compiled reports with pictures [of the damaged objects] in a video and sent them to the UNESCO in Cambodia," Hang Sot said, adding that UN flags at Preah Vihear would urge Thailand not to fire at Preah Vihear temple. While observers express concern that any armed conflict over disputed border areas near Preah Vihear temple, a potential source of lucrative tourist revenues, would almost certainly cause damage to the ancient sanctuary, talks between Cambodia and Thailand to end the dispute are unlikely to reach an agreement soon, not least because of Thailand's massive political instability. However, military officials from both sides are expected to sign agreements in the Cambodian province of Siem Reap today that will ease tensions, Koh Santepheap reports. Promises to refrain from provocations that likely caused the Oct 15 fire fight that killed three Cambodians and an uncertain number of Thai soldiers are though to be on the cards. 

Similar promises could also come from veteran Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and his recently-appointed Thai counterpart if they meet during the Asia-Europe summit today and tomorrow, despite the fact that the two countries have reportedly been building up military forces along the border ready for war. 

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