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Bangkok flipflopping on Preah Vihear: from “not a topic of discussion” to “top of agenda” for Samak’s visit to Phnom Penh

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Preah Vihear to top the agenda of Samak’s visit to Cambodia

Friday February 29, 2008
WASSANA NANUAM
Bangkok Post

Preah Vihear will top the agenda of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s official visit to Cambodia, starting Monday. A military source said the prime minister would talk to his Cambodian counterpart about jointly proposing the Preah Vihear Khmer temple ruins, called Khao Phra Viharn in Thai, as a World Heritage site since the two countries have yet to settle the border demarcation in that area which is located in Kantharalak district of Si Sa Ket.

Moreover, the Thai side believes the area that covers about 7.2 sq km should not be included in the area to be designated a World Heritage site.

Last year, Cambodia tried to register the site with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) alone. But the UN agency delayed its decision, urging the two countries to resolve the issue together.

Due to the unsettled border, Cambodia cannot register the ruins alone. If Cambodia wants to apply for World Heritage status, the proposal should be jointly submitted with Thailand because the area is supervised by two countries.

If Cambodia pushes on with its idea, it should not include the 7.2 sq km disputed area because it means Thailand might lose its sovereignty over the area in question,” the source said.

Mr Samak’s trip will follow a two-day official visit to Laos which begins today.

A meeting of the World Heritage committee will be convened from July 4 to 12 in Canada.

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Written by Kolbot Khmer

February 29, 2008 at 3:27 pm

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