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North Korea Boycotts Regional Security Meeting

Kim Jong-Il (right), the leader of North Korea (file photo) (AFP) July 28, 2006 -- North Korea today boycotted a regional security talks held on the sidelines of the ASEAN conference in Malaysia.

North Korea pulled out hours before the meeting, warning that it might withdraw from ASEAN if the countries at the meeting North Korea for its nuclear program.

Countries represented at the talks include the United States, South Korea, and Russia.

During the conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki met with his counterparts from Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Indonesia -- all major Muslim countries -- to discuss the situation in Lebanon.

A senior Iranian Foreign Ministry official said "there is no other issue more important right now."

Iran's own nuclear program is the cause of major international concern.

Meanwhile, hundreds of anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli protesters broke through the barricade at the convention center where the meeting was taking place. Police held them back by forming a cordon around the building.

(AFP, Reuters, AP)