>Thai official: Controversial temple likely to be approved as World Heritage site

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Noppadon (L) shakes hand with Sok An during the signing of an agreement in Paris in June.

BANGKOK, July 6 (Xinhua) — Attempts by Cambodia to list the controversial Preah Vihear temple, which stands across the area of both Cambodia and Thailand, as a World Heritage site during the current United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) annual session held in Canada’s Quebec City, are expected to bear fruit, according to Thailand’s World Heritage Committee.

Pongpol Adireksarn, chairman of the committee and currently attending the UNESCO session, said that more than half of the 21 World Heritage Committee members had told him informally that they favored the Cambodian government’s registration of the ancient temple as a World Heritage site as it had “untiringly pursued the issue on a constant basis”, the official Thai News Agency reported on Sunday.

He quoted committee members as telling him that the concerned Phnom Penh government had also invited them to visit the temple, unlike Thailand whose “policy was uncertain” and whose government changed frequently, the report said.

The temple issue is expected to be conferred by the World Heritage Committee on Sunday night, Thailand time.

The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a non-governmental organization, had distributed reports to the committee, saying that the listing of the temple alone as a World Heritage site would pose no problem for the consideration, said Pongpol.

But the ICOMOS recommended that both Cambodia and Thailand should jointly propose that the surrounding area to the temple should also be included as the World Heritage site.

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama, attending the session as an observer, is expected to oppose and delay the listing of the temple following the Thai Administrative Court’s temporary injunction against the June 17 cabinet approval of the joint communique he signed with Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Noppadon said in Quebec that he would prepare a letter and lobby the Committee to delay the listing of the temple.

Editor: Amber Yao

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