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Temple Group Announced on Eve of Decision


A local foundation announced Monday the creation of a committee to support people living near the contentions border temple of Preah Vihear.

The Preah Vihear committee was announced by the Khmer Civilization Foundation the day before a decision on the temple's World Heritage status is expected.

Cambodian officials are seeking the temple's inclusion on Unesco's World Heritage protection list, a move that has made the structure the focal point of increased tension between Thailand and Cambodia.

A 1962 International Court ruled the temple belonged to Cambodia, but the surrounding borders are still in dispute. Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Bangkok in the wake of the temple's application, claiming a Thai agreement to allow Cambodia to forward the request was tantamount to a cessation of land. A Thai court subsequently issued on injunction of Thai support for Cambodia's application

Moeung Son, the founder of the Khmer Civilization Foundation, said plans are in place to build a hospital near the cliff-top temple. The Foundation, which operates through independent funding from Cambodian residents and expatriates, will hold an inaugural ceremony Friday.

Hong Soth, director of the government's Preah Vihear National Authority, said the authority had not yet recognized the foundation.

The Foundation will meet with former king Norodom Sihanouk Wednesday to discuss plans to build a hospital, named after the former monarch, near the temple.

The World Heritage Committee, which is currently meeting in Canada, is expected to announce a decision on the temple's protection status Tuesday.

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