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UNESCO finds compromise on Preah Vihear temple issue

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Breaking News. Image: GoodManPL (Pixabay).

It is a rather sad story for Preah Vihear temple, a 11° century jewel of Angkor architecture which unfortunately lies on a tip of a promontory just on the border line between Cambodia and Thailand. For decades, the temple has been the witness of a war of words, skirmishes and even sporadic fights between Cambodian and Thai troops due to territorial claims. Preah Vihear belongs to Cambodia since 1907, a decision which was confirmed by an international judgment in 1962. Two years ago, Preah Vihear was finally listed as a World Heritage Site.

This week, the meeting of the World Heritage Commission in Brasilia was supposed to endorse Cambodia’s management plans for the temple area. But Thailand voiced its strong concern, threatening to withdraw from the Heritage Committee as it complained not to have been consulted.

According to Sue Williams, UNESCO spokesperson, Preah Vihear Temple is listed as a Cambodian World Heritage Property and is therefore administered by Cambodia. But to complicate things, parts of the temple’s surrounding and access are on Thai territory. Both Cambodia and Thailand claim a 4.2 km² buffer zone under their sovereignty. Thailand discovered that Preah Vihear management as presented by Cambodia would have integrated one km² belonging to the contested buffer area…


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