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UNESCO team views Preah Vihear damage

More than a dozen UNESCO volunteers visited the Preah Vihear temple yesterday to  determine the extent of damages that resulted from armed battle near the temple in February, officials said.

Council of Ministers undersecretary of state Sous Yara, who accompanied the UNESCO delegation to the World Heritage site yesterday, said the visit was “very important” because it was UNESCO’s first since fighting broke out between Cambodia and Thailand in February.

“They came to see about the damage we reported to them from the fighting,” he said. “Thailand reported no damage, but now they see that there is damage.”

Lying near the Thai border, the temple has been the source of ongoing battles between Cambodia and its neighbour, who both lay claim to it.

In July, the International Court of Justice established a provisional demilitarised zone around the temple and ordered the two countries to immediately withdraw troops so Indonesian observers could enter and monitor a cease-fire.

Thai goverment spokesman Titima Chaisang confirmed yesterday that Thai Defence Minister Yuthasak Sasiprapha had accepted his Cambodian counterpart’s recent invitation to attend a meeting of the General Border Committee on December 21 to discuss the disputed territory.

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