According to an article in today’s Phnom Penh Post, an official with the Council of Ministers said Tuesday the Cambodian National Committee, in partnership with Unesco, will post signs at Preah Vihear temple to create a protection zone around the World Heritage site.
The move follows claims by Cambodian officials that a statue at the “naga” staircase of the 11th-century monument were damaged by Thai grenades during clashes on October 15 that left three Cambodian soldiers and a Thai trooper dead.
Phay Siphan, Secretary of State at the Council of Ministers, said three signs will be posted around the temple on November 7 to prevent further damage to the site.
“Preah Vihear is not just Cambodian property, but world property,” he told the Post Tuesday. “Cambodia and Thailand are both members of UNESCO, so we want their co-operation in protecting the temple.”
Thailand’s Foreign Ministry on Monday denied claims that Thai soldiers had damaged the temple. In a statement, the ministry said Thai soldiers only fired rifles, and instead accused Cambodian troops of using grenades.
Hang Soth, Director-General of the Preah Vihear Authority, said the new signs will demarcate a new protection zone to deter fighting in the area. “There will be no further shooting on the temple or in the protection zone,” he said. “We will post the signs, and Thai soldiers must join us in respecting the boundary.”
General Srey Doek, Commander of Cambodia’s Brigade 12 stationed at the temple, said he could not comment on the new protection zone. “We are waiting to receive orders from higher levels about whether to remove our troops from the temple,” he told the Post ( AFP).