>Dancing in the streets over Preah Vihear victory

>Cambodians celebrate the listing of Preah Vihear.

The Mekong Times

Cambodians were yesterday dancing in the streets over UNESCO’s decision to list Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage Site, despite Thailand’s last minute attempts to scupper the registration because of a long-running territorial squabble.
Thousands danced, sang and waved Cambodian flags, chanting “Long live Preah Vihear temple!” in response to news that UNESCO had granted the temple World Heritage Site status, AP reported.
“This is a very auspicious day for us. We’re very delighted,” said Ti Vansi, a medical student who joined his peers in skipping class to hold a celebration rally, according to AP.
Prime Minister Hun Sen called the temple’s designation “a new pride for the people of Cambodia,” in a statement.
Hor Namhong, Cambodia’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, yesterday told reporters that the UNESCO decision had been unanimous, with all 21 members of the World Heritage Site Committee voting to register Preah Vihear as a World Heritage Site.
“This is a success of the Cambodian government … and also a
success of Cambodian civilization and
culture,” he said.
Hor Namhong emphasized that the listing of Preah Vihear does not affect sovereignty, with neither nation losing “even one centimeter” of territory. He criticized the politicization of the Preah Vihear issue, branding those raising allegations of encroachment “stupid politicians.” Hor Namhong claimed relations between Cambodia and Thailand remain good, though he declined to say when the nearest border crossing to Preah Vihear will be reopened.
The border crossing was closed after Thai protestors gathered there demanding the “return” of Preah Vihear to Thailand, along with Siem Reap and Battambang provinces.
The UNESCO draft decision obtained by The Mekong Times called Preah Vihear “an outstanding masterpiece of Khmer architecture in terms of plan, decoration and relationship to the spectacular landscape environment.”
Legal protection of the site was “adequate,” UNESCO found, but further archaeological research currently underway “could result in new significant discoveries that might enable consideration of a new transboundary nomination, that would require the consent of both Cambodia and Thailand.”
The draft decision urged Thai-Cambodian cooperation to safeguard the site, as “the peoples of the surrounding region have long treasured the Temple of Preah Vihear.”
UNESCO noted that “the property proposed for inscription is reduced and comprises only the Temple of Preah Vihear and not the wider promontory with its cliffs and caves.”
This meant that “the integrity of the property has to a degree been compromised by the absence of part of the promontory from the perimeter of the property,” because “the attributes of the property comprise the temple complex.”
Preah Vihear temple is the second World Heritage Site in Cambodia, after Angkor Wat, which was listed in 1992.

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