“I appeal to the international community to further address the special problems of this vulnerable group,” said Thongloun Sisoulith, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Laos. He called specifically for global efforts to help facilitate a mid-term review to assess the Almaty Programme of Action, a plan adopted in 2003 aimed at helping to meet the special needs of landlocked developing countries.He added that a recent summit meeting of leaders of those States had adopted a Declaration reaffirming their right of access to and from the sea.The needs of developing countries in general were discussed by Hor Namhong, the Foreign Minister of Cambodia, who said there has been very little progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of targets for tackling poverty and other global ills. He attributed this in part to “the negative impact of globalization which has led to the widening gap between developed countries and the poor nations.”He especially decried the lack of progress towards addressing the extreme poverty which afflicts 1.3 billion people globally. “Eradication of poverty is, first and foremost, the responsibility of the whole world and requires cooperation of the developed countries, international organizations as well as the private sector,” he said, calling for increases in debt relief, foreign direct investment and official development assistance to address the problem.Also addressing the Assembly today was Le Cong Phung, the First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Viet Nam, who said the widening development gap between rich and poor posed a major threat to peace and security. The failure of the Doha Round, the strengthening of protectionism in a number of developed countries, and the fluctuating prices of oil and gold had caused difficulties for developing countries in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).He voiced particular concern about anti-dumping tariffs imposed on Viet Nam’s catfish, shrimp and footwear. Non-tariff barriers disguised as hygiene or safety standards should be removed to facilitate access to developed economies’ markets, he said.