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09PHNOMPENH505 CAMBODIA SEEKS SUPPORT FOR BID TO JOIN UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE

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“217489”,”7/21/2009 13:01″,”09PHNOMPENH505″,

“Embassy Phnom Penh”,

“UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY”,

“09PHNOMPENH406″,”VZCZCXRO2417

PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH

DE RUEHPF #0505/01 2021301

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

P 211301Z JUL 09

FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0963

INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0715”,”UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 PHNOM PENH 000505

 

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

 

BANGKOK PASS TO S TRAVELING PARTY

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, P, D, IO

PARIS PLEASE PASS TO US MISSION TO UNESCO – S. ENGELKEN

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL, KTIA, SCUL, UNESCO, CB

SUBJECT: CAMBODIA SEEKS SUPPORT FOR BID TO JOIN UNESCO

WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE

 

REF: PHNOM PENH 406 AND PREVIOUS

 

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Secretary of

State Long Visalo July 20 appealed for United States support

of the bid by the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) to join

the UNESCO World Heritage Committee (WHC). Cambodia will

stand in an election for the one open East Asia and Pacific

seat on the 21-member WHC at the UNESCO General Conference in

October. Long Visalo cited Cambodia\’s participation in

UNESCO since the 1992 inscription of Angkor Wat on the World

Heritage List, Cambodia\’s deep cultural heritage, and its

growing experience on the Angkor Wat International

Coordination Committee since 1993 as reasons to support the

candidacy. This would be Cambodia\’s first time to sit on the

WHC and represents another attempt to seek legitimacy in the

international community. Passing a letter from Prime

Minister Hun Sen addressed to the President, Long Visalo

asked for the continued strong support of the U.S. Government

seen in the inscription of the ancient Preah Vihear temple

(Reftel) and for its vote. Full text of the diplomatic note

and attached letter from Prime Minister Hun Sen to the

President is reproduced in paras 6-7. Embassy will deliver

the letter to the Desk via registered pouch. END SUMMARY.

 

2. (SBU) Noting that Cambodia had more than 1000 ancient

Khmer temples, Long Visalo told A/DCM that the RGC revered

its deep culture and had tried to preserve its heritage

dating back hundreds of years. In the Khmer language\’s deep

roots, in Cambodia\’s unique royal ballet dance, and in the

cherished history of shadow puppets could be seen a

commitment to the preservation of cultural heritage.

Cambodia\’s establishment of and participation in the

International Cooperation Committee (ICC) for Angkor Wat

since 1993 was another valuable experience that could be

depended on in the WHC, he said.

 

3. (SBU) During the process that led up to the July 2008

inscription of Preah Vihear temple on Cambodia\’s northern

Dangrek Range, the U.S. had shown itself to be a steady

friend of Cambodia, Long Visalo added. Since then, Cambodia

had shown itself to be a cooperative member in the UN,

committed to the peaceful resolution under international law

of ongoing dispute over the border with Thailand near Preah

Vihear temple. Now the U.S. could once again throw its

support behind Cambodia and cast a vote for Cambodia as the

East Asia and Pacific Islands group candidate at the WHC, he

concluded.

 

4. (SBU) When asked, Long Visalo mentioned that Indonesia

had shown a serious interest in promoting its candidacy for

the same single seat on the WHC in the EAPI region. He

expressed less certainty about the potential candidacy of

Thailand, rumors about which he had heard but which he could

not confirm. (NOTE: Both Thailand and Indonesia have

reportedly served on the WHC before. This would be a first

for Cambodia. END NOTE.)

 

5. (SBU) A/DCM told the MFA Secretary of State that the

request would be conveyed to Washington, although it was

often the case that the U.S. did not discuss candidacies in

advance of votes with other UN members.

 

6. BEGIN TEXT OF DIPLOMATIC NOTE:

 

No. 1013 OI/MFA-IC

 

COMPLIMENTARY OPENING

 

…has the honor to enclose herewith a letter dated 8 July

2009 of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime

Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, addressed to H.E. Barack

H. Obama, President of the United States of America.

 

The Ministry would be very grateful if the Embassy

could kindly forward the enclosed message to its high

destination.

 

COMPLIMENTARY CLOSE

 

Phnom Penh, 20 July 2009

 

END TEXT OF DIPLOMATIC NOTE

 

7. BEGIN TEXT OF LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT:

 

PHNOM PENH 00000505 002 OF 002

 

Phnom Penh, 08 July 2009

 

H.E. Barack H. Obama

President of the United States of America

Washington

 

Your Excellency,

 

I have the honor to inform Your Excellency that the Kingdom

of Cambodia, State Party to the Convention of 1972 concerning

the protection of cultural and natural World Heritage intends

to present its candidacy for a seat on the World Heritage

Committee during the upcoming Session of the General

Conference in October 2009.

 

The Royal Government is seeking to actively increase our

engagement with the international community in order to

contribute to the preservation and sustainable development of

world heritage and culture. Following the listing of the

Angkor (sic) on the World Heritage List in 1992, Cambodia,s

engagement has increased significantly, particularly in the

last ten years with the listing of the Royal Ballet in 2003,

the Shadow Theatre in 2005 and the Temple of Preah Vihear in

2008.

 

There are a number of reasons why Cambodia is submitting its

candidacy for the Committee for the first time. These

reasons include the importance of the Khmer heritage and its

fame around the world; the great success of the international

action at Angkor with the work of the International

Coordination Committee (ICC), which has been supported by

UNESCO since 1993; and the increasing affirmation of our

commitment to conservation and sustainable development.

According to the friends of our country, all of these reasons

justify why the Kingdom of Cambodia should serve as a member

of the World Heritage Committee.

 

The relations of mutual respect and friendship that the

Kingdom of Cambodia is proud to have with your country, lead

us to hope that you will support our candidacy and vote

accordingly.

 

Soliciting officially your support and your vote, I wish,

Your Excellency, to express my heartfelt gratitude and to

assure you of my highest consideration.

 

Prime Minister

 

Hun Sen (signature)

 

Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN

 

END TEXT OF LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT

 

8. (SBU) COMMENT: Having secured membership in ASEAN in

1999 and as one of the first least developed countries to

join the World Trade Organization in 2004, Cambodia continues

to seek legitimacy in this and other world fora. Cambodia\’s

candidacy for the WHC should stand on its own merits.

However, on another front, given a recent move to use court

defamation cases to check dissent, we should not hesitate to

underline the RGC\’s quest for legitimacy within the

international community, and to appeal for more civil

political discourse as Cambodia goes through an apparent

cyclical downturn in its overall political climate, including

the narrowing of protections for freedoms of speech and press.

RODLEY

Written by thaicables

July 21, 2011 at 5:45 am

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