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Thai and Cambodian rulers agree to civility

2 Irina Bokova and Hor Namhong

Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to maintain stability and peace along the contentious border near Preah Vihear temple, regardless of the decision to be issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) come October, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said yesterday.

The statements were made following a sidelines meeting between Namhong and Irina Bokova, Director General of the UNESCO at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“I thanked UNESCO for listing Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site and for providing a lot of support for culture and education, particularly for sending experts for monitoring and the restoration of Preah Vihear Temple,” Namhong told reporters yesterday.

Namhong said that he informed Bokova that “whatever decision the ICJ makes, the Cambodian government of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Thai government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra . . . will abide by the court’s decision, and we will maintain friendship, cooperation and serenity along the border,” he said.

After fatal and repeated clashes between 2008 – following the temple’s listing as a World Heritage site – and 2011, Cambodia asked the court to reinterpret its 1962 decision concerning the border area surrounding the temple.

Hearings were held in April.  While the Yingluck government, which is friendly with Cambodia, has assured the international public it will abide by any decision made by the UN court, anti-Yingluck “yellow shirts” have called on the government to ignore the rulings and have threatened mass demonstrations.

Also yesterday, delegates began debates over which sites to newly inscribe on the world heritage list.

“There will be important exchange and debate on endangered world heritage,” Bokova told reporters yesterday, adding that sites in Syria and Mali were especially in danger at the moment.

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