Saturday, March 12, 2011

Bilateral Relations: Cambodia and Thailand agree to UNESCO meeting over damaged temple site

Representatives of Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to a United Nations-sponsored meeting to discuss ways to safeguard the Preah Vihear Temple, a World Heritage List site that was damaged during border clashes between the South-East Asian neighbours earlier this year.

The two sides will meet at the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on 25 May, the agency reported this week.

The agreement follows a recent mission to Cambodia and Thailand by Ko├»chiro Matsuura, UNESCO’s Special Envoy for Preah Vihear, who met with the prime ministers of the two nations and other senior officials.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement that the main aim of the discussions on 25 May will be “further dialogue on the effective conservation of Preah Vihear.”

An 11th-century Hindu temple, Preah Vihear was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008 in recognition of its outstanding universal value. Considered an outstanding example of Khmer architecture, it consists of a complex of sanctuaries linked by pavements and staircases on an 800-metre-long axis.

Ms. Bokova said she has also been briefing both Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the latest developments.