Monday, February 28, 2011

PM: Thailand Will Not Withdraw from World Heritage Committee

28 Feb, 2011
Source: Thailand Outlook

The prime minister has reiterated that the government will not withdraw from the Unesco World Heritage Committee as Thailand can leverage its seat in negotiations with Cambodia.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva discussed on his weekly television program about the visit to Thailand by Koichiro Matsuura, a representative from Unesco, saying that the trip was not intended to interfere with the Thai-Cambodia border conflict.

Abhisit also talked about the visit in a positive light, saying that it was good for Unesco to hear both sides of the argument.

The prime minister also reiterated that it is necessary for Thailand to remain a member of the World Heritage Committee in order to maintain its leverage against Cambodia.

The prime minister's comments were directed towards the People's Alliance for Democracy which has asked that Thailand withdraw its membership.

Abhisit expects that from now on, Unesco will be more receptive to the protests by Thailand against the administrative plan for the disputed area surrounding the Preah Vihear Temple proposed by Cambodia.

Abhisit also commented on the postponement of the World Heritage Committee conference to June, indicating that it remains to be seen how the meeting between Unesco representatives and Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen will turn out.

At any rate, the prime minister reaffirmed that the demarcation process will continue as the next Thai-Cambodian Joint Boundary Committee meeting, or JBC, will take place from March 7 to 8 in Indonesia.

The prime minister said the foreign minister is prepared to take on the task.

The premier also pointed out that it will be up to the JBC as to when it will submit the three meeting-minute reports to lawmakers for their approval.

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