Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Temple assessment call

Temple assessment call

Temple assessment call

Prime Minister Hun Sen called for a team of experts to assess the damage sustained by Preah Vihear temple during fighting along the border last month in a meeting today with UNESCO special envoy Koichiro Matsuura.

The premier today met Matsuura, who is in town for a three-day visit to meet government officials and diplomats in the wake of fighting last month near Preah Vihear that left at least 10 people dead and displaced thousands of civilians.

He is set to depart today.

Speaking briefly to reporters following the meeting today, Matsuura said he had a “very lengthy but very good meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen”.

“We covered lots of things. UNESCO is a mediator, UNESCO does not take the side of any country,” he said. “UNESCO is neutral [and] objective.”

Eang Sophalleth, assistant to Hun Sen, said the prime minister had recommended that UNESCO send experts to assess the damage at the 11th century temple and to restore the site.

Matsuura “agreed” with Hun Sen’s recommendations, Eang Sophalleth said. UNESCO representatives could not be reached to corroborate this account.

Preah Vihear was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for Cambodia in 2008.

Matsuura travelled last week to Thailand, where he met officials including Thai premier Abhisit Vejjajiva to discuss the dispute.

Thai officials have implored UNESCO not to accept Cambodia’s management plan for Preah Vihear until the border conflict is resolved.

Deputy Prime Minister Sok An said UNESCO would send a team of experts to the temple following the arrival of Indonesian observers who will be in place to monitor the situation at the border following an agreement reached between Thailand and Cambodia last week.

This team, Sok An said, would discover the harm inflicted on the temple and a nearby pagoda by Thai troops.

“It is a war crime or a crime against religion because they damaged the pagoda, and it is a crime against culture because they damaged the temple,” Sok An said.

Thai troops have denied targeting the temple and have accused Cambodian forces of using it as a base in violation of international obligations.

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all