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Asean's Poorer Nations Find Need to Cooperate

A firework fired by opponents of ousted President Mohamed Morsi explodes during clashes in downtown Cairo, July 15, 2013.

The leaders of Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam met in Phnom Penh on Tuesday, vowing closer ties for economic growth in an integrated Asean economy.

This was the fifth summit between the countries, Asean's least developed.

“We hope that our four countries will strengthen economic cooperation under a principle of equality, for mutual interest, and without mutual interference, to boost growth and reduce gaps of progress,” Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said following meetings Tuesday.

Laotian Prime Minister Bouason Bouphavanh said the four countries, known collectively as CLMV, could play a major role in the integration of Asean.

“The linking of railway networks, human resources, green power and recyclable power are still crucial priorities in the cooperation of the CLMV,” he said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen said the four nations needed to attract regional development partners, as well as cooperating with institutions like the Asian Development Bank, the Institute of Research for Asean and Southeast Asia and others.

The four countries need to consolidate cooperation to boost trade and investment, facilitate commerce and create markets along respective borders, he said.

Burmese Prime Minister Thein Sein said greater links between the countries would not only encourage businesses and tourism, but would also bring their citizens closer together.

Cambodia is hosting three summits over Tuesday and Wednesday: the CMLV, the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam, and the Ayeyawady-Chao Praya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy.

On Tuesday, leaders signed an agreement to form preferential policies and to develop the triangle of 10 provinces connecting Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Cambodia signed an air agreement with Laos. Burma, also called Myanmar, was congratulated on elections held earlier this month.