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Cambodians celebrate ancient temple’s UN World Heritage listing ខែកក្កដា 8, 2008

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in News.
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Phnom Penh – Cambodians living on the border near an 11th century Hindu temple newly listed as a World Heritage site danced with joy Tuesday, students waved national flags in the streets and a celebratory fireworks display was announced. Preah Vihear, called Prasat Prasat Phra Viharn by Thais, is sacred to both sides but was awarded to Cambodia by the International Court in The Hague in 1962. It became Cambodia’s third UN World Heritage site, after Angkor Wat temple complex and the national ballet.

“Of course we are overjoyed, the people on the border are dancing. It is a good day for Cambodia,” the government official in charge of Preah Vihear, Hang Soth, said by telephone.

Thailand had called for a joint listing by the two nations, citing disputed border territory and the fact that some associated sites of the temple lie within Thai territory.

Cambodian media could not resist a subdued show of nationalism, with a live feed from the UN meeting in Quebec, Canada by private television network CTN at 3 am for Deputy Prime Minister Sok An to personally announce the news.

The ruling Cambodian People’s Party network Apsara featured a picture of Prime Minister Hun Sen ringed by stars as it read the entire ruling by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) later in the morning.

But the government took pains not to fan nationalistic sparks too hard, and Hun Sen promptly stated that Thailand remained “a good neighbour.”

Emotions run high between the neighbour countries over cultural heritage. In 2003, an angry mob burned the Thai embassy and several businesses after false rumours that a Thai actress had claimed the nation’s icon, Angkor Wat, was Thai.

Hun Sen also reiterated that King Norodom Sihamoni had pursued the listing since his time as Cambodian ambassador to UNESCO from the early 1990’s until his accession to the throne in 2004, and insisted the issue was independent of local politics.

At a press conference in the capital, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong was jubilant.

“This is a victory of our Cambodian government,” Hor Namhong said. “But much more important than this, this is the victory of Khmer civilization.”

ប្រភព៖ http://www.activeboard.com/forum.spark?forumID=98894&p=3&topicID=18884837

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