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PRESIDENT of the 64th Session
United Nations General Assembly

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At the Forum of Small States (FOSS) Meeting

New York, 11 September 2009

Excellencies,
Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Permanent Representative of Singapore, H.E. Mr. Vanu Gopala Menon, for inviting me and hosting this event with members of the Forum of Small States.

Singapore played the lead role in establishing the Forum of Small States in New York back in 1992. It was set up on a non-geographical basis, and today it comprises one hundred countries, constituting the majority of the members of the United Nations. Singapore has long been supportive of platforms that allow small states to discuss and foster common positions on issues of mutual concern, and this forum is a major platform, giving them a larger voice at the United Nations. 

Small States have many common-shared problems and concerns such as economic and environmental challenges.  It is oftentimes the countries with very limited resources who are the most vulnerable.  It is also oftentimes those who lack the capacity to approach negotiations on an equal basis with richer or bigger nations who suffer the most.

I am looking forward to hearing from you about your specific concerns.  Also, I would like to hear from you how I can support your efforts as President of the General Assembly and how the General Assembly can respond effectively to the challenges facing small States around the world.

Thank you.

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