Written By vibykhmer on Saturday, June 20, 2009 | 8:16 PM

Thailand plays with word on the explosive Preah Vihear affair


FM: Thai objection to Preah Vihear listing against World Heritage, UNESCO, not Cambodia

BANGKOK, June 20 (TNA) -- Foreign Affairs Minister Kasit Piromya reasserted Saturday that Thailand’s plan object to Cambodia’s listing of Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site is directed at the World Heritage Committee and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), not the Cambodian government.

He said Suwit Khunkitti, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, who will attend a World Heritage Committee meeting in Seville, Spain, next week as an observer, will meet the chairman of the Committee beforehand regarding Thailand’s objection to Cambodia’s unilateral listing of the temple which sits on the border between the two countries.

UNESCO granted Cambodia’s application for Preah Vihear to be designated a World Heritage site in July last year.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that the temple belongs to Cambodia but armed clashes between soldiers of the two countries have occurred periodically near the temple, especially at a 4.6 square kilometre disputed area, since then.

“This issue is between Thailand and the World Heritage Committee and the UNESCO and not between Thailand and Cambodia,” Mr. Kasit, adding that Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva had said that Cambodia is not involved in this matter.

Mr. Kasit declined to say whether the Thai action would change the prior decision because it is up to the committee, and Thailand is attending not as a member but as observer.

He said the meeting also has other matters of its agenda, to discuss and may also act on Thailand’s proposal on naming other historical sites to become World Heritage sites.

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