Archive for July 1st, 2007

Saturday, 30.6.2007: UNESCO Delays Listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site

Posted on 1 July 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

Apologies for the late postings, due to a light travel accident and sickness in our team.


“Phnom Penh: Cambodian and Thai officials said the UNESCO delays listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site until next year so that Cambodia can settle some remaining issues. As for a Thai newspaper, it reported on 29 June that the decision at this time makes the Thai embassy in Cambodia prepare to evacuate the Thai nationals in Cambodia for fear of a riot against Thais, as it had happened in 2003.

“Mr. Khieu Kanharith, the Minister of Information and government spokesperson, told Rasmei Kampuchea by phone on 29 June that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee had really suspends the request for listing the Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site, but the delay is not due to a demand by Thailand, it is because of a few technical issues.

“He stated, ‘Thailand does not oppose the request for listing the Preah Vihear Temple, but we have not yet fulfilled a few technical requirements, such as some new constructions, a radio station, market stalls, and sewers.’

“He continued that the Preah Vihear Temple is located at the Cambodian-Thai border, therefore there are some remaining issues such as the border demarcation between the two countries which has not yet been defined, arrangements for market stalls, sewers, and the distribution of benefits from the temple, because so far Thailand has got some benefits from the temple, and Thailand used to ask Cambodia not to release [sewage] water into a stream near the temple, a natural border between the two countries.

The Nation of Thailand, published on 29 June, said that the Thai authorities support the registration of Preah Vihear Temple as an UNESCO World Heritage Site; however, there are some issues relating to the temple hat have not been solved. Cambodia wants the Preah Vihear Temple to be registered as a World Heritage Site in order to help guarantee its conservation.

“However, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held a meeting recently and suspended any decision on the Cambodian request.

“The suspension was decided after the Thai side said that the Cambodian-Thai border has not yet been demarcated, and the plan for joint arrangements is still being discussed.

“The UNESCO committee asked the two countries to settle the remaining issues and suggested that Cambodia can apply again next year.

“The Thai Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Mr. Tharit Charungvat said on Thursday, ‘We do not appose the registration of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site. We support the request of Phnom Penh in principle. We hope the remaining issues can be settled and the request can be submitted again next year.’

“A Thai newspaper said that the decision by UNESCO to postpone the Cambodian request made Thai authorities to prepare contingency plans.. They fear this issue will be used to provoke anger among Cambodian nationals against Thais.

“In 2003, anti-Thai riots occurred in Phnom Penh, after the Cambodian media published a rumor, saying that the pretty Thai actress Phkay Proek [Suvanant Kongying] said that the Angkor Wat Temple belongs to Thailand. The Thai newspaper quoted a senior news source, that the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh held an urgent meeting with Thai nationals in Cambodia last week, in order to set up plans of an evacuation, after the embassy had been informed about the [Cambodian] government’s stance on the UNESCO issue.

“However, Mr. Tharit rejected such a statement by saying that it was just a normal meeting between the Thai embassy and Thai nationals in Cambodia.

“Mr. Tharit stated that the UNESCO committee wants Thailand and Cambodia to apply together next year for the registration of the temple into the World Heritage list, rather than Cambodia to apply alone.

“According to the Bangkok Post, the Thai National Committee on the Convention for the Protection of World Culture and Natural Heritage expressed concern over Cambodia’s lobbying of UNESCO without Thailand’s participation.

“The committee said that the consideration should cover the entire site, not only the part on Cambodian land. The entrance to the temple is in Sisaket Province of Thailand.

“Concerning the reports of Thailand preparing to evacuate Thai nationals for fear of riots, Mr. Khieu Kanharith said that the delay by UNESCO will not create a riot against the Thais by Cambodian people as it was in 2003. He added, ‘The 2003 event cannot take place again, because Cambodian youth no longer believe false information, and the Cambodian police now have more experience. Furthermore, Thailand does not oppose the UNESCO listing of Preah Vihear Temple.’

“The World Heritage Committee holds a meeting in New Zealand from 23 June to 2 July in order to decide the registration of a number cultural properties into the Word Heritage list. 45 cultural and tourist areas including Preah Vihear Temple are to be reviewed during the 31st Conference of the World Heritage Committee in New Zealand, before deciding what will be listed as World Heritage Sites.


“On the early evening of 29 June, the Cambodian delegation which attends the 31st Conference of the World Heritage Committee, issued a press release on the case of listing the Preah Vihear Temple.

“The press release described the 31st Conference of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 29 June 2007, discussing the request of the Kingdom of Cambodia for the listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site.

“The press release added that the Cambodian delegation led by Mr. Sok An, a Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister of the Council of Ministers, and the President of Cambodian UNESCO Committee, discussed with the President of the World Heritage Committee and explained the issues relating to Cambodian sovereignty, the value of world cultures, and especially of Preah Vihear Temple as well as the process that Cambodia has taken in response to the procedures and conditions of the World Heritage Committee.

“The World Heritage Committee decided that the Preah Vihear Temple, which is internationally meaningful and with has value as an expression of world culture, will, in principle, be listed as a World Heritage Site. Cambodia has to move forwards to organize the management plan and to report the development of this work toward an official announcement for the registration of the Preah Vihear Temple in the 32nd Conference in 2008.

“Thailand agreed with Cambodia and announced to the World Heritage Committee that it will actively support this in order to register the Preah Vihear Temple officially.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4324, 30.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Saturday, 30 June 2007

Chakraval, Vol.15, #2693, 30.6.2007

  • Ministry of Interior Allows Human Rights Party to Hold Congress at Olympic Stadium

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1379, 30.6.2007

  • Dengue Fever Invades; State Needs $5 Million to Save Children
  • Battambang Court Drops Charges against 7 Robbers and 3 Generals
  • 255 Red Pigs [imported from Thailand, which are said to be fed with chemical food] Seized [Angk Snuol, Kandal]
  • 68-Year-Old Man Rapes 12-Year-Old Girl on Straw Pile [he is arrested – S’ang, Kandal]
  • Floods Kill 50 People in Afghanistan

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6069, 30.6-1.7.2007

  • Council of Ministers Meeting Presided Over by Samdech Hun Sen Agrees on Creation of Two Departments at Ministry of Information [Department of Administration and Finance, and Department of Information and Audio-Visuals]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3198, 30.6-1.7.2007

  • Primary Assessment Says Plane Crash Is [Sihanoukville] Airport’s Fault [with uncertain command and inadequate technical equipment]
  • Svay Rieng Authorities Use King’s Name to Take More Than 200 Hectares of People’s Land by Saying that It Is to Prepare for Tree Planting Day

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4324, 30.6.2007

  • UNESCO Delays Listing of Preah Vihear Temple as a World Heritage Site
  • Sihanoukville Military Chief Accused of Taking Nearly Six Hectares of a Widow’s Land

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3075, 30.6.2007

  • Dutch Government Defeats Ty Sokun [Director General of Department of Forestry and Wildlife] by Continuing to Aid Global Witness
  • Illegal Logging of Luxury Wood Trees Persists in Seim Pang District Which Leads to Ruin of Trees

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Friday, 29.6.2007: Plane Crash Caused by Pilot’s Error

Posted on 1 July 2007. Filed under: Week 514 |

The Mirror, Vol. 11, No. 514

Apologies for the late postings, due to a light travel accident and sickness in our team.

“Raining and dense jungle prevented searchers from finding the crashed plane immediately. 35 minutes after takeoff, a [AN-24] plane operated by the Progress MultiTrade Air [PMT Air] company, carrying 22 people, including 13 Koreans, from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville, it crashed into Bokor Mountain, covered with dense jungle, after the communication between the pilot and the control tower was off, after speaking to each other a few words only.

“The Dong-A Ilbo of South Korea published on 28 June 2007 the conversation between the pilot and the control tower in Sihanoukville (quoting the pilot), ‘We are flying at an altitude of 2,000 feet.’ The control tower in Sihanoukville responded, ‘You are flying too low. Given your current location, you should move to an altitude of 4,000 feet.’ The pilot said, ‘No problem; I am familiar with this area.’

“The plane lost contact shortly after this communication, disappearing from radar screens as it crashed into the northeastern side of Bokor Mountain in Kampot.

“The newspaper says it is a pride-driven tragedy. According to a recording of the conversation obtained by the Korean Embassy in Cambodia, it is highly likely that the crash was caused due to pilot error. Mr. Oh Gap-Yeol, Ambassador for Koreans Abroad, said after hearing the recording at the embassy, ‘The plane was flying lower than the standard altitude.’ The Dong-A Ilbo quoted the ambassador’s words, ‘The control tower warned the pilots that their altitude at the time of the crash was too low.’

“Around 50 km into the flight path to Sihanoukville airport lies Bokor Mountain – standing around 4,000 feet above sea-level and near the coastal town. Given the height of the mountain, the plane should have maintained an altitude of at least 3,800 feet.

“However, the plane was flying at 2000 feet – far below the standard altitude for the area. The adverse weather made matters worse, but the pilot’s pride led him to dismiss the warnings from the control tower.

“The Russian news agency Itar-Tass confirmed that the pilot was Nikolay Pavlenko from Uzbekistan. Moreover, the plane was reported to have deviated from its flight path. According to a military pilot who joined the rescue efforts, the plane had flown slightly north of the normal flight-path to Sihanoukville. This argument was also verified by the fact that the plane crashed southwest close to Bokor Mountain, 3,600 feet above sea-level. The remote location delayed rescue efforts as workers had difficulty accessing the crash site.

“Concerning signs of tragedy, the Dong-A Ilbo continued that the rescuers first identified adverse weather conditions as the cause of the crash. [Royal Cambodian Armed Forces commander-in-chief] Mr. Ke Kim Yan, chief of the rescue team, said in a short interview, ‘The crash was caused by adverse weather; not by a technical fault.’ Prime Minister Hun Sen also shared the analysis in a news conference held soon after the crash that the cash was caused by the weather. However, safety is often compromised. The PMT airliner that crashed was a decrepit Russian-made AN-24 that was developed over 40 years ago. With a poor safety record, the aircraft experienced a separate accident in northern Russia in 2005 that took the lives of 29 people.

”PMT Air countered the accusation, stating that the plane in question was in good condition and met all safety standards before the flight. The airline added that it is too early to determine the exact cause of the accident, and it will remain so until the black box flight data recorder can be recovered. As soon as the black box is found, they will consult Russian aviation experts who have arrived in Cambodia to conduct further analyses.

“Mr. Hun Sen said, ‘All aircrafts will have to be checked for safety issues and those found to be too old and unsafe will be removed from service.’

“It should be remembered that this plane crash was caused by the same fault as the fault of the pilots who flew a Yuon [Vietnamese] plane which crashed near Phnom Penh about ten years ago. At that time, the stubborn Yuon pilots, with too much pride, for they had occupied Cambodia, said that they knew Cambodia like they knew the palms of their hand, and they did not follow the advice from the control tower at Pochentong Airport. As a result, the plane crashed early one evening, killing 65 passengers – only 2 children survived – one Thai and one Vietnamese.

“Whatever reason, the plane crash might have been due to the age of the plane, or the pilot committed an error, or carelessness. All mishaps carry many lessons.

“We wish all victims to reach paradise.” Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #439, 29.6.2007

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Friday, 29 June 2007

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.6, #1378, 29.6.2007

  • Ministry of Health Says Cambodia Has Approximately 700,000 AIDS Carriers
  • 13 Dead Bodies of South Koreans [plane crash victims] Will Be Returned Home This Friday Afternoon
  • [Indian] Maoist Rebels Burn Railway Station in India

Khmer Amatak, Vol.8, #490, 29.6.2007

  • Samdech Krom Preah Starts to Meet People at the Local Level Directly by Phone from Malaysia
  • Kampuchea Krom Khmers Warn that They Will Hold Pilgrimage on 7 July 2007

Koh Santepheap, Vol.40, #6078, 29.6.2007

  • Cambodian People’s Party Announces that Samdech Hun Sen Is Prime Ministerial Candidate if It Wins 2008 Election
  • League of Civil Society Organizations Interested in Cleaning of Voter Lists [by National Election Committee]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.14, #3197, 29.6.2007

  • 300 [South] Korean Tourists [whose plane tickets had been booked by a tourist company for flights by PMT Air, whose plane crashed on 25 June killing 22 passengers and crew] Cancel Trips to Cambodia
  • PMT Air Provides $1,000 to Each Family of the Dead Victims’ Families; AN-24 Planes Had Crashed and Killed 1,725 People [world wide]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.15, #4323, 29.6.2007

  • Mr. Lao Mong Hay [former head of Legal Department of Center for Social Development, now professor at Toronto University, Canada] May Become Chairperson of a Committee of the Human Rights Party
  • 15 Big Companies of France Come to Cambodia to Check Investment Opportunities
  • Vietnam Plans to Construct Railway to Cambodia
  • Khmer Side Prevents 200 Black-Clad Thai Soldiers [special border protection unit] from Climbing Up to Preah Vihear Temple [for a visit]

Samleng Yuvachun Khmer, Vol.14, #3074, 29.6.2007

  • Plane’s Flight Data Recorders Sent to Russia for Finding the Real Reason of the Plane Crash

Sralanh Khmer, Vol.3, #439, 29.6.2007

  • Plane Crash Caused by Pilot’s Fault
  • Son Soubert [member of Constitutional Council]: Prohibition of Monks’ Pilgrimage Contradicts Constitution
  • Funcinpec Officials Call Prince Norodom Ranariddh a Long-Term Tourist
  • Authorities Do Not Prevent [Illegal] Logging and Transportation of Wood in Kratie and Pursat

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