Peace is at hand in Cambodia with a new dialogue between rebels and the Vietnam-backed government, Thai Prime Minister Prem Tinsulanonda told Southeast Asian foreign ministers Monday.

Prem, opening the annual foreign minister's conference of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, said negotiations on the 9-year-old war could lead to a new era of peace and prosperity in Southeast Asia.

The ministers echoed Prem's optimism and called on Vietnam to halt the increased flow of "boat people" refugees to Southeast Asian shores.