More than 1,300 delegates from 125 countries are scheduled to gather in Phnom Penh over the coming days to participate in the 37th World Heritage Committee meeting, which begins Sunday.
Ahead of the meeting—which will discuss whether historical and natural sites should be included in the Unesco World Heritage List—Deputy Prime Minister Sok An on Thursday held a rare press conference to inform the media about the upcoming event and the opportunity it presented for Cambodia to perform on the international stage.
“We used to say in the past that it seems that there is one real Cambodia and one Cambodia through the media that is different from the real Cambodia,” Mr. Sok An said in response to a question from a foreign reporter.
“But now, the 1,400 delegates and the three to four hundred media men come to see and get the opportunity to visit Cambodia and to see and understand our culture and the value of our heritage. This is a very good opportunity for Cambodia,” the deputy prime minister said.
A good portion of the English-language part of Mr. Sok An’s press conference held inside the Council of Ministers was taken up by three questions from one foreign journalist.
At the end of the press conference, the reporter left behind a slip of paper which contained three questions, which appeared to have been prepared for him to ask Mr. Sok An during the conference.
At the bottom of the questions, a note was added: “Mr. Stuart Alan Becker told me that he will write down whatever His Excellency Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Sok An says to welcome the session of the World Heritage Committee and underscore the importance of hosting the event.”
Ek Tha, spokesman for the Press and Quick Reaction Unit inside the Council of Ministers, said he had contributed to writing the three questions asked by the reporter. The reporter, Mr. Tha said, “didn’t have time to prepare questions, so I helped him.”