Sunday, 20.7.2008: An International Crisis – But Why Are Important Public Documents Not Considered?

Posted on 21 July 2008. Filed under: Week 569 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 12, No. 569

In the interest of easier accessibility, we publish the editorial of the past week also here.

While military forces and military hardware continued to be deployed in the general area of the Preah Vihear temple – the temple itself has been declared to be a World Heritage Site – emotions continue to grow, mixed with some fear, that the present confrontation might result again in violence, as it happened in 2003, when a baseless rumor led to the destruction and looting of the Thai embassy and other Thai property in Phnom Penh. The official estimate of the damage of goods destroyed was US$56 million – the value of goodwill destroyed can never be counted in monetary value.

Now the hope is toward the high level meeting between representatives of the Cambodian and the Thai governments to happen on Monday.

But it is a surprising environment in which the emotional discussion in Cambodia happens, even when it relates to the legal background and context of the present standoff. Until now, we did not see any reference to the recent declarations and decision by the representatives of the Royal Government of Cambodia which led to the successful listing of the Preah Vihear temple as a World Heritage site – eminently important documents, which are all publicly available on the Internet.

But these documents are strangely absent from the media in Cambodia. If they are available and we only missed it, we apologize and would like to get the guidance of our readers, pointing us to publicly available sources in Khmer, or in any other language – but material of the media printed in Cambodia.

We quote some of these important declarations, including the sources, where they are publicly accessible.

Document 1

Proposed for the inscription on the World Heritage List (UNESCO)

Edited by the Council of Ministers
Phnom Penh
JUNE 2008

Click to access Preah_Vihear_English.pdf

(English, 4.24 MB)

Page 12 (about principles of these related UNESCO decisions):

“The inclusion of a property situated in a territory, sovereignty or jurisdiction over which is
claimed by more than one State, shall in no way prejudice the rights of the parties to the dispute.”

= =

Page 29 (from 6 May 2008):

Joint Press Release

(at the occasion of a meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kingdom of Thailand)

The Kingdom of Cambodia strongly stresses that the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear is without prejudice to the demarcation work of the Cambodian-Thai Joint Commission on Demarcation for Land Boundary (JBC) between Cambodia and Thailand; and the zoning (“Zonage” in French) stipulated in the document submitted by Cambodia to UNESCO shall not be considered as boundary line.

= =

Page 23 (related to 22 May 2008):

…during a meeting in Paris (France) on 22 May 2008 between a Cambodian delegation… and a Thai Delegation … The Kingdom of Thailand reconfirmed its support for the inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List… For its part, the Kingdom of Cambodia, in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation, accepted to inscribe the Temple of Preah Vihear on the List of the World Heritage, at this stage, without a buffer zone on the north and west of the Temple.


Document 2: Joint Communique (18 June 2008 )

(Source – three pages, the third being the map under reference, with the are “N. 1” claimed by Cambodia to be listed as a World Heritage Site, marked in light red):

Click to access jointcommunique.pdf

We could not yet find any source that the text and the appended map of the Joint Communique of 18 June 2008 was published in Cambodia – in a Khmer or any other language newspaper, or on an Internet site from Cambodia)


The meeting was held in a spirit of friendship and cooperation.

During the meeting both sides agreed as follows:

1. The Kingdom of Thailand supports the inscription, at the 32th session of the World Heritage Committee (Québec, Canada, July 2008), of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List proposed by the Kingdom of Cambodia, the perimeter of which is identified as N. 1 in the map prepared by the Cambodian authorities and herewith attached. The map also includes, identified as N.2, a buffer zone to the East and South of the Temple.

2. In the spirit of goodwill and conciliation, the Kingdom of Cambodia accepts that the Temple of Preah Vihear be nominated for inscription on the World Heritage List without at this stage a buffer zone on the northern and western areas of the Temple.

3.The map mentioned in paragraph 1 above shall supersede the maps concerning and including the “Schéma Directeur pour le Zonage de Preah Vihear” as well as all the graphic references indicating the “core zone” and other zoning (zonage) of the Temple of Preah Vihear site in Cambodia’s nomination file;

5. The inscription of the Temple of Preah Vihear on the World Heritage List shall be without prejudice to the rights of the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of Thailand on the demarcation works of the Joint Commission for Land Boundary (JBC) of the two countries;

Phnom Penh, 18 June 2008
For the Royal Government of Cambodia


Deputy Prime Minister, Minister in charge of the Office of the Council of Ministers

Bangkok, 18 June 2008
For the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand
Minister of Foreign Affairs



Paris, 18 June 2008
Representative of the UNESCO
Françoise Rivière
Assistant Director-General for Culture

= = =

The public discussion in Cambodia without reference to these documents will continue emotionally; this is partly understandable. It is difficult to understand that the media in Cambodia are not bringing these documents – important statements on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia – into the public.

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