Minister to Finalize Return of Artifacts from Thailand

Foreign Affairs Minister Hor Namhong will visit Thailand in the near future to finalize an agreement with Bangkok that will see 16 ancient Khmer artifacts returned to Cambodia, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

The artifacts were among at least 43 others that were confiscated in Thailand in 1999, said Koy Kuong, the spokesman.

After a meeting at the Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday between Mr. Namhong and Thailand’s new ambassador to Cambodia, Nattavudh Photisaro, Mr. Kuong said the minister would travel to Thailand soon.

“Deputy Prime Minister [Namhong] will push for the return of 16 artifacts to Cambodia,” Mr. Kuong said.

He did not say when the trip would take place. In January, Mr. Namhong struck an agreement in Siem Reap City with his Thai counterpart, Tanasak Patimapragorn, to secure the return of the artifacts.

Thousands of artifacts were looted from Cambodia’s temples during the decades of civil war that began in the 1970s. Many of the pieces ended up being smuggled across the border into Thailand.

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