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Cambodia to hold rally celebrating temple’s World Heritage status ខែកក្កដា 15, 2008

Posted by សុភ័ក្ត្រ in News.
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PHNOM PENH – THE Cambodian government organised another mass rally on Monday to celebrate the recent listing of the country’s 11th century Hindu temple as a world cultural landmark.

Some 10,000 people were expected to gather late on Monday to celebrate Preah Vihear temple’s new status as a UNESCO World Heritage site, said Mr Mann Chhoeun, deputy governor of Phnom Penh Municipality that organised the event.

The ceremony will be presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Sok An when he returns from Canada, where he lobbied a UNESCO committee meeting to designate the temple a cultural treasure, Mr Mann Chhoeun said.

‘We have succeeded in this goal not by just sitting idly. We struggled hard to get it,’ Mr Mann Chhoeun said.

Preah Vihear was declared a World Heritage site a week ago despite objection from Thai anti-government groups. The two countries have a long-standing dispute over the land that surrounds the temple, and Thai activists have recently revived nationalist sentiment over the issue.

In 1962, the International Court of Justice awarded the temple and the land it occupies to Cambodia, a decision that still rankles many Thais even though the temple is culturally Cambodian, sharing the Hindu-influenced style of the more famous Angkor complex in northwestern Cambodia.

Mr Mann Chhoeun said the temple’s new status is ‘the second success’ for Cambodia following the 1962 ruling.

He said speeches will be read and nationalist songs will be sung at the ceremony purely to express ‘our pride and modest joy.’ As Cambodians celebrate the recognition for the temple, a small group of Thais continue to protest, demanding the eviction of Cambodians living on land near the temple.

Last week, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama resigned after the Constitutional Court ruled that he had overstepped his authority in supporting Cambodia’s application to have the temple designated as a World Heritage Site.

Some political opponents have charged that the government of Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej deliberately bypassed Parliament and backed the bid in exchange for business concessions from Cambodia for toppled Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Mr Noppadon, whose resignation takes effect on Monday, has denied the allegations. — AP

ប្រភព៖ http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest%2BNews/Asia/STIStory_257599.html

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