Mission on Preah Vihear temple concludes successfully: UNESCO special envoy

08:51, March 02, 2011      

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Koichiro Matsuura, the special envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said Tuesday afternoon his visit to Thailand and Cambodia on the issue of Preah Vihear temple come to an successful end.

"It's a very fruitful mission. I am very happy about that," Matsuura told reporters at Phnom Penh International Airport before leaving for Japan.

During a meeting with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen on Monday, Matsuura told the premier that UNESCO would send its experts to evaluate and restore Preah Vihear temple in the future.

Asking at the airport on Tuesday, Matsuura did not say when UNESCO will send its experts to evaluate the temple's damages caused by more than 400 mortar and artillery shells fired by Thai troops in the clashes on Feb. 4-7.

"We have something that UNESCO has to discuss further with Cambodian government," he said.

Matsuura, a former director-general of UNESCO and a former Chair of the World Heritage Committee, was named on Feb. 11 as the special envoy to mediate the issue of Preah Vihear temple following a deadly clash from Feb. 4-7 between Cambodian and Thai troops over the border disputed area next to the temple.

He visited Thailand on Feb. 25-26 before arriving Cambodia on Feb. 27-March 1.

Preah Vihear Temple was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2008.

The conflict has occurred just a week after the inscription due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, since then periodic clashes have happened between the two nations' troops, resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

Source: Xinhua

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