World Heritage Committee Convenes in Canada

The first day of the 32nd Session of the World Heritage Committee began Wednesday afternoon in Quebec, Canada, and Cambodia will propose the listing of Preah Vi­hear temple as a World Heritage Site on Sunday or Monday, officials said.

It is unclear how the Thai government’s decision to uphold the Thai Administrative Court’s suspension of official endorsement of Cambo­dia’s bid will factor into the World Heritage Committee’s deliberations.

The Bangkok Post reported Wednesday that Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama would fly to Canada to explain why Thai­land “decided not to support the listing of the temple as a World Heri­tage Site.”

Council of Ministers adviser Pen Ngoeun said Wednesday that the Thai Cabinet’s decision Tuesday merely equaled a suspension and not an opposition to support.

“They do not oppose, they just put it on hold,” Pen Ngoeun said.

Pen Ngoeun added that the Thai Administrative Court’s injunction was the result of action by the Thai opposition and did not reflect the government’s wishes.

“Between the governments of Cambodia and Thailand, there are no difference on the prescription of Preah Vihear to the World Heritage list,” he said.

Thai Senators urged Tuesday for Thailand’s representatives in Que­bec to explain to the World Heritage Committee the urgency of delaying Cambodia’s bid, The Bang­kok Post newspaper reported.

“In light of the ongoing dispute,” The Bangkok Post said in an editorial Wednesday, the committee should “see the wisdom in delaying any decision on Cambodia’s ap­plication.”

“If the application is awarded to Cambodia now, it is hard to imagine that tensions would not escalate at home and between the two countries,” the editorial warned.

Despite the saber rattling in Bang­kok, Interior Ministry spokes­man Khieu Sopheak said the situation in Phnom Penh is calm.  “We will preserve the national se­curity interests,” he said.

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