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PORT VILA, Vanuatu (October 12, 1997 - PACNEWS)---Vanuatu's Prime Minister, Serge Vohor, has asked the United Nations General Assembly to keep his country in the UN's Least Developed Countries category.

In his address to the 52nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York last week, Vohor said the current reform process now underway in his country and its poor economic situation suggest that Vanuatu should continue to be considered a Least Developed Country.

He called on the UN to defer final decision on changing Vanuatu status until the year 2000, when the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) next meets to examine the current criteria for Least Developed Countries.

Vohor's call followed a recent recommendation by ECOSOC to withdraw Vanuatu from the UN list of Least Developed Countries.

A statement from the Prime Minister says that UN General Assembly Chairman Kofi Anan met Vohor following the address and pledged the UN's support for Vanuatu's reform program and its request that consideration of any change in Vanuatu's status as a Least Developed Country be deferred.

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