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Unesco visits Preah Vihear

Unesco visits Preah Vihear

Top official says other temples suitable for World Heritage status, govt says.

A HIGH-level Unesco delegation paid a visit to Preah Vihear temple Friday, its first since the Angkor-era temple was listed as a World Heritage site in July last year.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said the delegation, led by Olabiyi Babalola Joseph Yai, president of Unesco's executive council, travelled Friday to Preah Vihear, and that the delegation would also make trips to other temple sites and the Tonle Sap Lake as part of its March 10-17 visit.

Dim Sovannarom, media officer for the Council of Ministers, also said the delegation spent the remainder of the weekend visiting temples in Siem Reap province, raising the possibility more temples will be earmarked for recognition by Unesco.

"On March 14, Yai led the delegation to visit Beng Mealea, Koh Ke and other temples such as Damrei and Leung [Balang]" he said. "[Yai] has complimented the temples and said other temples in Cambodia are suitable for listing as World Heritage sites."

The  group were to visit Banteay Srei temple before departing, he said.  

He added that the trip would be followed by a technical team made up of experts from the US, France, Belgium and India, which is scheduled to visit the temple early next month.

Culture Ministry Secretary of State Som Sokun said Cambodia has long been preparing other temples throughout Cambodia - including Sambo Preykub and Banteay Chhmar - for nomination as Unesco sites. Over 3,000 ancient temples remain in Cambodia, but so far just two have been listed as World Heritage sites: Angkor Wat in 1992 and Preah Vihear temple in 2008, Som Sokun added.

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