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09BANGKOK1487 THAI MFA DEMARCHE ON UNESCO/AMCIT VISIT TO PREAH VIHEAR TEMPLE IN APRIL, VIEWS ON WHC LISTING

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“213020”,”6/19/2009 10:42″,”09BANGKOK1487″,

“Embassy Bangkok”,”UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

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SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, KCUL, TH

SUBJECT: THAI MFA DEMARCHE ON UNESCO/AMCIT VISIT TO PREAH

VIHEAR TEMPLE IN APRIL, VIEWS ON WHC LISTING

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 1275

B. PHNOM PENH 406

 

1. (SBU) Summary: MFA\’s American Affairs Acting Director

General Apirath Vienravi called in then Charge June 18 for to

express grave concern over a team of UNESCO representatives,

including an Amcit, which crossed through Thai territory

without permission or visas in April, en route to the Preah

Vihear Temple in Cambodia. Separately, the Thai Cabinet June

16 reaffirmed the Thai position heading into the upcoming

UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC) meetingthat the current

unilateral listing of Preah Vihear should be scrapped in

favor a joint listing by Cambodia and Thailand, in

recognition of the location on the border and the shared

cultural heritage, ensuring the project promotes

understanding rather than fosters conflict. End Summary.

 

Protesting Amcit on UNESCO visit

——————————–

 

2. (SBU) MFA\’s Apirath delivered a formal complaint that in

April a UNESCO delegation

traversed Thai territory without a visa–a \”grave violation

of Thai sovereignty.\” Apirath said that the delegation had

told the Thai they would travel to the temple by helicopter,

but instead went overland through potentiallydangerous

territory. Included in that group reportedly was U.S. citizen

Richard Sussman. Apirath asked the USG to confirm

if Sussman were indeed a U.S. citizen and noted the Thai

concern that the delegation,s action put Sussman and

theothers at risk for their safety. The RTG has expressed

concern over the visit with UNESCO Headquarters in Paris as

well as

the local UNESCO office in Bangkok and with the embassies of

other countries whose citizens were part of the delegation.

 

Looking ahead to WHC meeting and Preah Vihear listing

——————————————— ——–

 

3. (SBU) The listing of Preah Vihear as a UNESCO World

Heritage Site did not come up during Thai PM Abhisit,s

recent June 12 visit/meeting with Hun Sen in Phnom Penh,

according to Thai sources. Nevertheless, the issue remains

unresolved (see ref B for Cambodian perspectives; ref A

provided Thai views of the overall border situation as of

late May). For its part, the Thai Cabinet on June 16

reaffirmed its opposition to the 2008 Cambodian-only listing

of Preah Vihear in advance of the upcoming WHC meeting in

Spain and assigned Natural Resources and Environment Minister

Suwit Khunkitti to represent Thailand at the WHC session.

 

4. (SBU) The MFA\’s lead Cambodia officer Mongkol Visitstump

told us June 18 that RTG also maintains that the registration

of Preah Vihear remains incomplete because Cambodia has not

yet fulfilled the conditions required by the 2008 WHC

decision in Quebec. In particular, there should be the

establishment and convening of an International Coordinating

Committee (ICC) with Thailand\’s participation, as well as the

provision of relevant information and documents including

detailed maps and the buffer zone of the inscribed property.

Neither has happened, Mongkol noted.

 

5. (SBU) PM Abhisit told reporters after this week,s Cabinet

meeting that Thailand favored a joint listing of the site,

peace in the surrounding area, and benefits to both sides,

suggesting the current single country registration compounds

a sense of conflict rather than promotes joint cultural

conservation and tourism. Culture Minister Teera Slekpetch

told reporters separately that the cabinet decision was in

line with the May 20 Thai World Heritage Committee decision

to oppose the listing. Teera indicated that Thailand would

nominate several candidates for vacant slots on the WHC,

including Pisit Charoenwongsa, director of the Organization

of Southeast Asian Ministers of Education, and Sawitree

Wuwansathit, former deputy permsec of the Education Ministry.

JOHN

Written by thaicables

July 21, 2011 at 5:40 am

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