Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Unesco urges Thailand to reconsider

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Unesco has urged Thai government to reconsider its decision to leave its World Heritage Committee, saying the committee has not yet discussed Cambodia's proposed management plan of the Preah Vihear Temple as earlier reported.

Director General Irina Bokova said in a letter dated June 27 addressing to Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva that there was no any push from her side for the discussion of the management plan.
"I hope sincerely that the Kingdom of Thailand will carefully consider its future course of action in respect of this important convention and will continue to be an active participant in the international cooperation for the protection of the world's outstanding heritage," she said.

The letter was sent after Thai negotiation chief; Suwit Khunkitti, walked out from a World Heritage meeting in Paris and announced Thailand's withdrawal from the World Heritage Convention during a Unesco meeting in Paris last Saturday in protest on the committee's plan to discuss Cambodia's management plan.

Bokova said it was most unfortunate this has happened in relation to the examination of the issue concerning the Temple of Preah Vihear World Heritage site by the World Heritage Committee. "I cannot but express disappointment at as such an announcement of the possible withdrawal of the Kingdom of Thailand from the World Heritage Convention, in light of your country's longstanding commitment to and active support of the latter."

Bokova denied some news reports that after the walkout, the committee discussed the management plan.

What the committee decided after the walkout was only reaffirmation of the need to ensure the protection and conservation of Preah Vihear temple from any damage, read the letter.

It further encouraged the two countries to use the 1972 World Heritage Convention as a tool to support conservation, sustainable development and dialogue.

She added that Thailand's bid to postpone the debate on the management plan was not supported by another member of the committee.

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