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.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia-Thailand rail reconnected after 45 years

    A railway reconnecting Cambodia and Thailand was officially inaugurated on Monday following a 45-year hiatus, with the two kingdoms’ prime ministers in attendance at the ceremony. On the occasion, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha travelled together from Thailand’s

  • Thousands attend CNRP-organised pro-democracy vigil in South Korea

    Thousands of supporters of the Supreme Court-dissolved Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) on Saturday gathered in the South Korean city of Gwangju to hold a candlelight demonstration calling for the “liberation” of democracy in Cambodia. Yim Sinorn, a CNRP member in South Korea, said on

  • US Embassy: Chinese trade does not help like the West’s

    The US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Friday said relations between China and Cambodia did not create jobs or help industry when compared to the trade between the Kingdom and the US. “About 87 per cent of trade [with China] are Chinese imports, which do not

  • New airport study set for 2019

    A feasibility study on the construction of a new airport in the Kingdom will be launched later this year, according to a Ministry of Tourism spokesman on Monday. The plan was approved last week in a meeting held by the Ministry of Economy and Finance