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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - PM and Abhisit in temple smackdown

PM and Abhisit in temple smackdown

PRIME Minister Hun Sen claims Thailand has "infringed" on Cambodia's sovereignty by announcing it will challenge the UNESCO World Heritage listing of Preah Vihear temple when the body meets later this month.

On Wednesday, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thailand aims to request a review of the July 2008 inscription of Preah Vihear temple, saying the listing has fostered conflict.

"I think that as a prime minister of one country, his words infringed on the sovereignty of [Cambodia]," Hun Sen said, adding that during his visit last week to Phnom Penh, Abhisit failed to raise the issue in talks with the government.

"I hope that his aim will not be successful, and I hope that UNESCO will not be stupid enough to go along with his gambit."

Thai state media reported Abhisit as saying that he has ordered Thai World Heritage Committee representative Suwit Khunkkitti to lodge

objections to the listing of the disputed temple when the committee meets for its 33rd Session in Seville, Spain, next week.

Hun Sen added that the Thai ploy was unlikely to succeed because of the International Court of Justice's 1962 ruling that handed Preah Vihear temple and some of the  surrounding area to Cambodia, and the fact that UNESCO had already listed the temple as a World Heritage site.

Minister of Information and government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said that the Thai leader clearly has no knowledge of history.

The latest crisis over the temple and its surrounding land began last July, when the government says Thai troops entered Cambodian territory,

sparking a massive military standoff.



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