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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian officials rebut Thai claims of tardy P Vihear filing

Cambodian officials rebut Thai claims of tardy P Vihear filing

Thai authorities say Kingdom has failed to offer a plan to guard and preserve disputed temple, but PVNA says plan was submitted months ago.

CAMBODIAN authorities say recent comments from high-ranking Thai officials regarding Preah Vihear temple are just plain wrong.

According to Thailand's natural resources and environment minister, Cambodia was unable to submit a detailed plan for safeguarding Preah Vihear temple to the World Heritage Committee, a charge that the Preah Vihear National Authority (PVNA) denies.

Suwit Khunkitti, the Thai environment minister, claimed that Cambodia now has until February 2010 to send in its conservation plan, according to a report in the Thai daily The Nation.

The acting Thai government spokesman, Panitan Watanayagorn, called the delay a victory for Thailand that would give the country a chance to continue its campaign for joint control of the 11th-century temple, The  Nation report stated.

But Hang Soth, the general director of the PVNA, says Cambodia submitted conservation plans to UNESCO on April 4.

"We don't understand why Thai leaders have said Cambodia has until February next year to submit the plan," he said, adding: "We have already submitted our projects.... Cambodians made the temple. Why can't we conserve it?"

Koy Kuong, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign of Foreign Affairs, said the Thai statements are meant to cover up their failure at the UNESCO meeting in Spain, where they were unable to get their challenge to the Preah Vihear listing on the agenda.

"The Thai leaders' comments are just to hide their failure to review the listing," he said.

The director of UNESCO was unavailable to comment.



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