Preah Vihear Listing Bid Limited to Temple Site

Cambodia has agreed to limit its bid to have the Preah Vihear temple listed as a World Heritage Site to just the temple itself and not the surrounding territory, Cabinet Minister Sok An said Monday.

Thailand had raised concerns earlier over the land surrounding the cliff-top Khmer temple, saying that it should not be included in a World Heritage Site bid until outstanding border demarcation issues are resolved.

Sok An, who returned Monday from a Paris meeting between Thai and Cambodian officials, said in a recorded audio report that the two countries have agreed to the submission of the temple site to the World Heritage Committee for its July meeting in Quebec, Canada.

The 15-minute recording was released by the Council of Ministers Monday and was intended as an update for Prime Minister Hun Sen and other government officials, said Phay Siphan, a Council of Ministers spokesman.

“The Thai prime minister has agreed to list the temple, and it will not affect the border,” Sok An said in the recorded report.

Phay Siphan said that the ongoing border issue was a separate matter from the temple being listed and already being handled by a joint land boundary commission formed in 2000.

Sok An led the Cambodian delegation to the Paris meeting with a Thai delegation headed by Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama. Unesco officials also attended, as the UN organization brokered the meeting and serves as secretariat of the World Heritage Committee, Sok An said.

“The result of the meeting was positive and makes clear in the agreement…that Thailand will still agree to support the listing of the temple in 2008 and Cambodia will also agree it will not talk about the borderland issues,” he said.

Sok An added that Cambodia’s next step is to draw a new map for the heritage site proposal that only includes Preah Vihear temple, and send copies to Thailand and Unesco by June 6.

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