UNESCO envoy's visit beneficial to Thailand

17:40, February 25, 2011      

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Thailand's Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdi said on Friday that the visit of UNESCO special envoy Koichiro Matsuura to both Thailand and Cambodia will be advantageous for Thailand as the country will have chance to explain facts.

Thani said, however, it's not yet an appropriate time for the special envoy to travel to the border area.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) special envoy on the Preah Vihear temple Koichiro Matsuura arrived in Bangkok on Thursday night and will have discussions with Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya and Natural Resources and Environment Minister Suvit Khunkitti at 15.30 p.m. local time before meeting with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva at 17.00 p.m.

Matsuura, a former director-general of UNESCO (1999-2009) and a former chairman of the World Heritage Committee (1999), was appointed by director-general Irina Bokova to discuss with Thailand and Cambodia measures to safeguard the temple, which was listed as a World Heritage site in 2008.

The three-member UNESCO delegation will fly to Phnom Penh on Sunday for talks with Cambodian officials on ways of reducing tension and promoting dialogue around the preservation of the temple.

The Foreign Ministry spokesman believes the special envoy will stay in Phom Penh and not go to visit the Hindu temple or border areas.

Responding to Thailand's Joint Boundary Commission chairman earlier remarks that the visit of UNESCO delegation is premature and not appropriate since the demarcation process is not yet completed, Thani said that the visit is beneficial to Thailand and should not be considered as an intervention.

The deadly border-clashes between Thailand and Cambodia during Feb. 4-7 around the contentious Preah Vihear temple slightly caused damage the 11th-century temple.

The UNESCO issued a statement early this week saying that the "temple was inscribed on the World Heritage List for its outstanding universal value in keeping with the 1972 World Heritage Convention, which has been ratified by both Cambodia and Thailand."

Source: Xinhua

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