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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR (Palau Horizon, Sept. 15) — Palau needs a permanent representative from the United Nations to help the country in its drive toward economic and social independence, according to President Tommy Remengesau.

In his statement to be delivered before the U.N. General Assembly, Remengesau stated that a U.N. representative in Palau could be "a vital foundation for sustainable development."

He said Palau and other Pacific island countries have already asked Secretary General Kofi Annan to assist in the establishment of U.N. representation in Palau.

"In spite of Palau’s increasing support for the United Nations’ work around the world and despite our determination to become an active member of the multilateral community, I note that the U.N. and its organizations and offices do not have one permanent representative in our nation to assist us in developing our capacity," Remengesau said.

He added that it is time for the international community and the U.N. to pay attention to island nations by moving beyond studies and establishing a specific program agenda that recognizes small countries.

"For Palau, and for many other small island developing states, the challenges are mounting. We are new countries, remote and isolated. We are small countries with small economies that lack in fiscal diversity. We are island nations whose sustainable development requires healthy reefs, plentiful oceans, freedom from incursions by international terrorists and meaningful educational and career opportunities for our children who are leaving our islands in our pursuit of both," Remengesau said.

He said coral bleaching and overfishing by foreign fishing fleets threaten to destroy Palau’s marine biodiversity.

In his statement, the president also expressed support for Japan’s request for a permanent seat on the Security Council. Remengesau also pushed for Taiwan’s membership in the U.N.

September 15, 2005

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