[Thai] Minister Suwit: Thailand may receive Cambodia's temple management plan in September

Monday, August 2, 2010

BANGKOK, Aug 2 (MCOT online news) - Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Suwit Khunkitti on Monday said Cambodia will send its management plan for the ancient Preah Vihear temple to Thailand in September and concerned agencies will have to study it thoroughly.

Mr Suwit commented as he and the Thai delegation returned from Brazil and the 34th annual meeting of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Commission (WHC) which ends Tuesday. They were in Brasilia to oppose Cambodia's unilaterally proposed management plan for the historic Hindu temple and its environs.

The World Heritage Commission on Thursday agreed to postpone reviewing the Cambodian plan until next year when the WHC meets in Bahrain after Thailand, led by Mr Suwit, threatened to review its membership. At the same time a number of Thais rallied at the UNESCO regional headquarters in Bangkok last week, calling on the commission to hold off on its consideration of the issue.

Mr Suwit thanked the Thai public for expressing their objection to Cambodia's move, as well as members of his team for their work in Brazil despite pressure and tension, especially when negotiating with the Cambodian representatives.

The Thai delegation head reaffirmed what he termed as that the stance of Thailand on the issue is clear and creative. Thailand is not seen as a villain in the eyes of other countries and many countries have congratulated the kingdom's success at Brazil.

The Thai minister said the officials are now preparing to look through documents of the Cambodian management plan which is expected to be sent to them in September, to see the map details and conditions or attachment which may lead to further conflict.

Preah Vihear was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court of Justice in 1962. UNESCO named the temple a World Heritage site in 2008, after Cambodia applied for the status while dispute over 4.6 sq km contested land between the two countries remains unsolved.

Under the terms of the listing, Cambodia is required to submit a management plan for WHC approval, but Thailand insisted that the matter should not be discussed unless the two neighbours first resolve their dispute over the zone adjacent to the temple.

Meanwhile, the Thailand's First Army Area Commander Lt-Gen Kanit Sapithak said Monday that the army is ready to protect the country's sovereignty but there has been no movement of Cambodian troops.

Gen Kanit however said the military ties between the two neighbours remains good and both agreed at the last month's regional Border Committee (RBC) that they will not use force against each other if any problem arises, but will solve it through talks at a local level first.

The Thai army first area commander said he hoped the good military ties between Thailand and Cambodia will help ease the tensed situation and conflict.


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