UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova's Special Envoy on the Preah Vihear Temple, Koïchiro Matsuura, will travel to Bangkok and Phnom Penh between 25 February and 1 March to discuss the safeguarding of the World Heritage site with the Thai and Cambodian prime ministers.

Mr Matsuura, a former Director-General of UNESCO (1999-2009) and a former Chair of the World Heritage Committee (1999), will also examine with both sides ways of reducing tension and promoting dialogue around the preservation of the temple.

Irina Bokova has voiced concern over clashes around the Temple in recent weeks, stressing that "the world's cultural heritage should never be a cause for conflict."

The 11th century temple of Preah Vihear was inscribed on the World Heritage List for its outstanding universal value in keeping with the 1972 World Heritage Convention, which has been ratified by both Cambodia and Thailand.

In keeping with the Convention, States parties undertake to recognize that "such heritage constitutes a world heritage for whose protection it is the duty of the international community as a whole to co-operate".