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Asean Leaders Willing To Facilitate North Korea Talks

North Korea's Deputy Trade Minister Ri Myong San (L), talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hor Namhong (R), during meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Phnom Penh July 26, 2011.

Cambodia’s foreign minister said Thursday Asean was ready to help six-party talks with North Korea during a regional forum in Phnom Penh later this year.

Asean ministers are meeting in Siem Reap this week to prepare for the forum, which will be held in July. Cambodia currently holds the rotating presidency of the regional bloc.

Foreign Minister Hor Namhong told reporters Thursday that Asean leaders could help ministers of North and South Korea meet on the sidelines of that forum.

Asean is also ready to negotiate with the nuclear weapon states to sign onto a South Asean nuclear weapon-free zone, he said.

Asean will also call for the lifting of sanctions on Burma, also known as Myanmar, which would contribute to more rapid economic development of the Southeast Asian country, Hor Namhong said.

“Myanmar is fast on the way towards democratization, so all the sanctions should stop,” he said.