BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
H.E. Dr. Sok An, Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of the Council of Ministers, has led a delegation to attend an Annual Meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Brazil. The Annual Meeting has taken place from the 25th of July to the 3rd of August 2010 in Brazil with more than 180 countries will participate.
The purpose of the Cambodian delegation’s participation was to attend the annual meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in order to present Cambodia’s conservation management plan for Preah Vihear temple and its surrounding areas.
H.E. Dr. Sok An said that Cambodia has become a member of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 2009. According to its membership of World Heritage Committee, Cambodia has the full rights and obligation to attend every annual meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in the world in order to discuss and include new artefacts which are submitted by other countries for including into the World Heritage lists.
“As a full member of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2009, Cambodia has the rights to obligate its duties and this is the second time for us to attend the meeting of the World Heritage Committee in Brazil.,” he told reporters at a press conference at the Phnom Penh International Airport before he left for Brazil on July 22nd.
He pointed that according to the agenda of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee meeting, the delegates at the World Heritage Meeting which will be taken place from the 25th of July until the 3rd of August will determine which properties will be added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list. They will also “monitor the state of conservation of properties” already inscribed on the list and discuss possible candidates for removal.
He added that there are a total of 32 projects will be discussed and raised in the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee Meeting in Brazil.
Regarding to preservation and development of Preah Vihear Temple, Dr. Sok An said that the Government plans to construct more roads, schools, health centres, irrigation systems, dams, and museum centre’s in the areas surrounding Preah Vihear Temple in the near future. He added that so far the Government of Cambodia has been spending over US$ 100 million for repairing the temple, construction and other development activities in Preah Vihear temple and its areas.
Hang Soth, Director of the Preah Vihear National Authority, said so far, UNESCO had outlined 13 steps to be taken by the authority in preserving Preah Vihear temple’s areas. He stated that some projects have been done and others have not yet been completed because they take two or three years to complete. He added that Preah Vihear Temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in July in 2008. The approval of Cambodia’s bid to have Preah Vihear temple registered with UNESCO triggered protests in Thailand and a sustained military build-up along the border by the two countries.
On the 18th of July 2010, Thai Prime Minister Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva said that Thai officials would oppose the conservation plan of Preah Vihear Temple.
The Thai Prime Minister Abhisit continued to say that his government will send its delegation to block Cambodia’s conservation management plan for Preah Vihear temple in the annual meeting of World Heritage Committee in Brazil.
“This is an opportunity and we will tell the committee what we have achieved, and also our plans to preserve and develop the temple and its surrounding areas,” said Dr. Sok An.