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Cablegate: Cambodia Seeks Support for World Heritage Committee

VZCZCXRO2015
PP RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHPF #0689 2530039
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 100039Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY PHNOM PENH
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1180
INFO RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 0723

UNCLAS PHNOM PENH 000689

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EAP/MLS, IO
PARIS PLEASE PASS TO US MISSION TO UNESCO - AMBASSADOR KILLION

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KTIA SCUL UNESCO DB
SUBJECT: CAMBODIA SEEKS SUPPORT FOR WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE
CANDIDACY

REF: PHNOM PENH 505
1. SUMMARY: Deputy Prime Minister Sok An formally announced his
government's intention to seek a seat on the World Heritage
Committee (WHC) and sought international support for its candidacy.
Sok An cited Cambodia's deep cultural heritage and experience on the
Angkor Wat International Coordinating Committee as justification for
their candidacy. See action request in paragraph 5. END SUMMARY

2. In a ceremony at the National Museum on the evening of 9/7 Sok An
announced Cambodia's candidacy for a seat on the WHC and appealed
directly to the assembled Ambassadors for their support. He was
joined by the head of the local UNESCO office Teruo Jinnai who
expressed his support for the country's candidacy while noting that
UNESCO did not have a voice in the decision. He noted that while
Cambodia has been a member of UNESCO for over fifty years it has
never served on the committee. He asserted that if selected,
Cambodia would serve the full six years of the term but would not
seek to extend its tenure.

3. Sok An highlighted his country's unanimous election to the
UNESCO executive council and subsequent service along with the
Cambodia's experience since 1993 with the Angkor ICC as
qualifications for the position. He also stated that his campaign
for the seat had started over a month ago and that he has spoken
privately with a number of officials in an effort to gain their
support (see reftel).

4. Sok An also expressed his country's strong commitment to the
protection of cultural heritage and assured the guests that if
selected Cambodia would fully support the 1972 convention and work
to maintain the "balance and stability" of the World Heritage List.
After his speech he told the Ambassador that he was "very hopeful"
regarding U.S. support for Cambodia's bid.

5. Action Request: Post requests Washington guidance on responding
to Cambodia's formal request for support.

RODLEY

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