Ranariddh: Unesco Complained About Land Issue

National Assembly President Prince Norodom Ranariddh ac­cused the UN Educational, Scien­tific and Cultural Organization of com­­plaining about his support of res­idents living on protected land at the Angkor Archeological Park—a claim Unesco denied.

Prince Ranariddh on Thursday charged that Unesco told retired King Norodom Sihanouk that he “vio­lated His Majesty’s royal decree,” which authorized the Ap­sara Authority to manage the area.

“What is the grounds of your allegation?” Prince Ranariddh asked of Unesco, as he spoke to reporters out­side the Assembly.

But Etienne Clement, country representative for Unesco, said neither he nor any member of his staff were involved with the dispute.

“I’m aware that Unesco has been mentioned [by Prince Ran­ariddh],” Clement said late last week. “Unesco has not taken any step concerning any land issue.”

Prince Ranariddh has come out in support of residents whom the Apsara Au­thority is trying to evict from land protected as a Unesco World Her­itage site. Apsara Au­thority began relocating residents last year and has asked nearly 100 families without land title documents to leave the area.

On Thursday, Prince Ranariddh char­ged that the authority has overstepped its bounds.

“What Apsara marked is too extreme,” Prince Ranariddh said. “[The Authority] used the retired king’s royal decree as a shield.” He added that he has no personal interests at stake in the dispute.

Repeated attempts to reach Ap­sara Authority representatives were unsuccessful.

Clement said Unesco’s name may have been brought into the fray because the international organization is in charge of monitoring conditions at Angkor.

He said the clash involving residents is “purely a national issue” that is beyond Unesco’s jurisdiction.



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