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Thailand, Cambodia sign temple agreement


June 19, 2008

Thailand, Cambodia sign temple agreement
Thailand and Cambodia on Wednesday signed a joint communique on the border temple of Preah Vihear, paving the way for Cambodia to propose its listing as a World Heritage Site, reported Kyodo news agency.

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama told reporters at a press conference after the signing ceremony that Cambodia's proposal to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization will not affect Thai territory.

"I assure you that we will not lose any soil or sovereignty over the Cambodian proposal on Preah Vihear," he said.

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The temple is located in Cambodia's northern province of Preah Vihear, just opposite Thailand's Sisaket Province. It has long been involved in a territorial dispute between the two countries.

On Wednesday morning, thousands of anti-government protesters marched to the Foreign Ministry in Bangkok to protest the issue of the ancient temple.

The protesters accused Noppadon of mishandling Preah Vihear, saying the government had a hidden agenda on the issue.

Noppadon said that Thailand does not have rights to the temple since the International Court of Justice ruled in 1962 that it belonged to Cambodia.

The proposal will be presented at the UNESCO World Heritage Committee meeting in Canada next month.

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