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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Samak says govt opponents jeopardised Thai-Cambodian relations by playing up Preah Vihear issue

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said Sunday that opponents of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra played up the Preah Vihear issue with ulterior motive to annihilate him.

Samak said the opponents did not care that their campaigns would jeopardise bilateral relations between Cambodia and Thailand and incite hatred between people of the two countries.

Speaking during his Talk Samak Style, Samak reaffirmed his government's stand that the listing of Preah Vihear temple by Cambodia as a world heritage site would not cause Thailand to lose its territory.

He said Thaksin's opponents played up the issue out of proportion and wanted to use the current government as a tool annihilate Thaksin as well.

Reading from his personal statement, Samak said his government obeyed the Administrative Court 's injunction on the Preah Vihear issue as much as what the opposition accepted it.

But, he said, the issue would be decided by a third party and his government would also have to take into account of interest of the two countries and their citizens.
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Thai official: Controversial temple likely to be approved as World Heritage site

BANGKOK, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Attempts by Cambodia to list the controversial Preah Vihear temple, which stands across the area of both Cambodia and Thailand, as a World Heritage site during the current United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) annual session held in Canada's Quebec City, are expected to bear fruit, according to Thailand's World Heritage Committee.

Pongpol Adireksarn, chairman of the committee and currently attending the UNESCO session, said that more than half of the 21 World Heritage Committee members had told him informally that they favored the Cambodian government's registration of the ancient temple as a World Heritage site as it had "untiringly pursued the issue on a constant basis", the official Thai News Agency reported on Sunday.

He quoted committee members as telling him that the concerned Phnom Penh government had also invited them to visit the temple, unlike Thailand whose "policy was uncertain" and whose government changed frequently, the report said.

The temple issue is expected to be conferred by the World Heritage Committee on Sunday night, Thailand time.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a non-governmental organization, had distributed reports to the committee, saying that the listing of the temple alone as a World Heritage site would pose no problem for the consideration, said Pongpol.

But the ICOMOS recommended that both Cambodia and Thailand should jointly propose that the surrounding area to the temple should also be included as the World Heritage site.

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama, attending the session as an observer, is expected to oppose and delay the listing of the temple following the Thai Administrative Court's temporary injunction against the June 17 cabinet approval of the joint communique he signed with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Noppadon said in Quebec that he would prepare a letter and lobby the Committee to delay the listing of the temple.
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