Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos Thoungloun Sisoulith addresses the General Assembly. UN Photo/Marco Castro

28 September 2012 ? Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Laos, Thoungloun Sisoulith, today urged Member States to lend greater financial support to the world?s most vulnerable countries.

?The Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) are one of the most vulnerable groups among members of the United Nations due to their geographical locations,? said Deputy Prime Minister Sisoulith, adding that each year they ?bear a heavy financial burden? in their efforts to improve their transit transport infrastructure so as to ensure that their exports reach the global markets.

?These problems are compounded when their national economies are affected by other crises such as financial, social, natural disasters, climate change,? he added, noting 50 per cent of LLDCs also ranked as Least Developed Countries.

On that note, Deputy Prime Minister Sisoulith urged the international community to give ?greater attention and provide assistance? to those countries through active participation in the Almaty Programme of Action.

The Almaty Programme of Action is the first global action plan negotiated at the ministerial level that provides a framework for cooperation between the landlocked and the transit access developing countries ? nations that have often been at odds due to their geographic configuration.

The plan reinforces the right of all countries to enjoy secure access to the sea and establishes a set of policy guidelines for reducing red tape for landlocked country exports, while also respecting the prerogatives of the access nations. It further sets the stage for strengthened national economies and greater convergence of national interests by cementing international and national commitment to upgrade rail, road, air and pipeline infrastructure in both the landlocked and the access countries.

Turning to domestic issues, the Deputy Prime Minister underscored his country?s continuing fight against unexploded ordinance, which he said continued to not only harm people but also pose an obstacle to national, social and economic development. He called on all countries to become party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions with a view to fully banning the use of such weapons.

The Laotian Deputy Prime Minister is one of scores of world leaders and other high-level officials presenting their views and comments on issues of individual national and international relevance at the Assembly?s General Debate, which ends on 1 October.

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