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Hun Sen ‘Regrets’ Thai Temple Remarks

The prime minister lashed out at remarks made by his Thai counterpart Thursday, who claimed he would seek joint World Heritage registry for the contentious Preah Vihear temple.

Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva made an official visit to Cambodia last week and returned several stone artifacts from the Angkorian period to Prime Minister Hun Sen.

The Bangkok Post reported Wednesday that Abhisit would seek joint registry for the temple, where hundreds of troops on each side are engaged in a long-running standoff.

“I want to see the temple a peaceful area so that the temple of the two countries can jointly benefit from this site of f high historical importance,” the Post reported Abhisit as saying.

Hun Sen said Abhisit had not raised the issue in talks last week, but he added, “I think he will not reach his goal.”

Preah Vihear temple was listed as a Unesco World Heritage site under Cambodia in July last year, prompting protests in Bangkok and leading to several skirmishes in subsequent months between troops on both sides.

Hun Sen, who spoke to reporters following talks with the UN special rights envoy Surya Subedi on Thursday, said he did not think Unesco would be “stupid” enough to follow Abhisit’s request.

“I regret his purpose in saying that,” Hun Sen said.