Thai leader defends leaving UN heritage site body

June 26, 2011 - 8:30 AM

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's prime minister is defending his country's decision to quit the U.N.'s World Heritage Convention. Abhisit Vejjajiva says the group's consideration of a Cambodian plan to manage a protected temple on Thailand's border would increase tensions.

Abhisit said Sunday it didn't make sense for Cambodia to unilaterally offer a plan for managing the Preah Vihear temple site, which is mostly easily accessible through land under dispute by both countries.

Some 20 people have died in attacks in the area surrounding the temple since 2008, when the site received World Heritage status over Thailand's objections.

Thailand announced its withdrawal from the convention at a meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Paris Saturday.