Repatriation of artefacts delayed by recent riots

The recent riots in Thailand have delayed the return of several Cambodian artefacts and will have to be rescheduled. This repatriation of artefacts is seen as a sign of warming relations between the two countries, despite the outstanding dispute at the Preah Vihear temple border.

Return of Cambodian artefacts delayed
The Nation, 20 April 2009

Due to recent domestic difficulties, Thailand has postponed the repatriation of seven smuggled artefacts to Cambodia.

“The Thai Cabinet will reschedule the return on a later date,” Kriengkrai Sampatchalit, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, said yesterday.

Six of the artefacts were due to be sent back with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s one-day visit to Cambodia scheduled for last Saturday.

However, after the Asean Summit with dialogue partners in Pattaya collapsed on April 11 and rioting erupted in Bangkok on the following two days, foreign trips were cancelled.

The Foreign Ministry has already informed Cambodia of the decision, Kriengkrai said.


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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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