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US funds Preah Vihear stair repairs

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US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy (front left) and culture minister Phoeung Sakona. LAY SAMEAN

US funds Preah Vihear stair repairs

The US government has announced an additional grant of over $80,000 for the third phase of the restoration of the northern staircase at Preah Vihear temple in order to help preserve the ancient structure, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

US ambassador to Cambodia Patrick Murphy signed the grant with Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeung Sakona on the grounds of the Preah Vihear temple on December 8.

Murphy said he was proud to announce an important contribution to further assist in the preservation of the magnificent temple and that the US will continue to be an important partner in efforts to preserve the Kingdom’s ancient wonders.

He said the grant also showed the close working relationship between the US and Cambodia in furtherance of the work of World Heritage conservation.

“The US is a major conservation partner around the world, including Cambodia. [This temple] is a magnificent World Heritage Site, so the US is proud to provide the grant to help preserve Preah Vihear,” he said.

The ambassador added that the ongoing project would also provide many jobs to local Cambodians while helping preserve knowledge of the Kingdom’s history and increased local expertise and skills in restoration for future projects.

He said this third grant of $86,664 follows two previous grants of $200,000 and $120,000 towards preserving Preah Vihear, respectively.

Culture minister Phoeung Sakona said the US is one of Cambodia’s most important partners in preserving the Kingdom’s heritage and in preventing its destruction, including the ongoing assistance being rendered through bold law enforcement operations aimed at ending the illegal global trade in looted Cambodian artifacts and returning all of them to their rightful home.

“I thank the US government for working with the ministry to preserve Cambodia’s national heritage and for restoring this national heritage temple. The work has been made possible by funds from donors like the US as well as other international partners and through our national budget,” she said.

The preservation of both tangible and intangible heritage for future generations will allow them to experience these masterpieces of art made by their ancestors.

“The assistance provided by the US stands as a symbol of the bonds of our nations’ friendship and our commitment to helping each other as well as promoting the engagement of meaningful cultural exchanges between Cambodia and the US,” she said.

Kong Puthika, director-general of the National Authority for Preah Vihear, said contributions like this grant from the US are vital to the preservation of the Preah Vihear temple.

“This is a gesture of international solidarity, helping preserve Cambodia’s heritage. So, we are very proud to have received this funding as well as equipment and technical assistance for our conservation work,” he said.

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