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Cambodia to Push for Positive Burma Outcome, as Asean Meetings Begin

As Cambodia prepared to join the 13th Asean summit and the 40th birthday of the regional body, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said Monday the situation in Burma would be foremost on the minds of leaders.

"I think that Cambodia's position is to push the good situation forward, as [pro-democracy leader] Aung Sann Sukyi has met with Burmaese government representatives twice, and with UN representative [Ibrahim] Gambari twice," he said. "It is not customary for Asean to expel one of its members."

Burma is one of the 10 Asean countries, and a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations there last month has been a pressing issue for the its nine neighbors.

Speaking to VOA Khmer ahead of meetings, Hor Namhong also said Cambodia was seeking $10 million in extra funds for the Khmer Rouge tribunal, and he hoped the US would contribute.

He called poverty the "No. 1" enemy of Cambodia, and said next year's national elections will be better than elections past, "because the people are more mature, the politics are more mature and many parties have joined in."