Vivian Balakrishnan holds meetings on sidelines of general assembly

Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan addressing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the UN on Sept 24, 2018.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Vivian Balakrishnan addressing the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the UN on Sept 24, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan has held a series of meetings on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

At a bilateral meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas yesterday, they reaffirmed the longstanding and excellent relations between Singapore and Germany.

They welcomed the upcoming signing of the Free Trade Agreement, Investment Protection Agreement, as well as the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the European Union and Singapore next month in Brussels. These agreements will strengthen ties between both countries and the two regions, the MFA said.

Following their meeting, Dr Balakrishnan and Mr Maas issued a joint declaration to reaffirm the commitment of both Singapore and Germany to free trade, multilateralism and a rules-based global order, and to deepen cooperation at all levels. "The ministers agree to further intensify the already close exchange on foreign and security policy issues between their countries' foreign ministries," the declaration said.

On Thursday, Dr Balakrishnan had separate meetings with former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Dr Balakrishnan also met American Jewish Committee (AJC) chief executive and executive director David Harris and other members of the AJC leadership.

The minister had wide-ranging discussions during these meetings on developments in the United States, the Asia-Pacific and global trends.

Dr Balakrishnan hosted a luncheon for the leaders of Pacific Island States and Timor-Leste. They discussed common challenges and interests of small island states, and reaffirmed the need to continue working together to address the adverse effects of climate change as well as to achieve sustainable development.

They also discussed ways to forge closer cooperation in capacity building and development.

Dr Balakrishnan also held a bilateral meeting with Liechtenstein Minister of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Culture Aurelia Frick.

They exchanged views on the opportunities and challenges of the ongoing digital revolution, and reaffirmed the importance of upholding a multilateral, rules-based international order, particularly for small states such as Singapore and Liechtenstein.

In the bilateral meeting with Colombian Minister of Foreign Affairs Carlos Holmes Trujillo-Garcia, they discussed regional developments and ways to strengthen economic cooperation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2018, with the headline 'Vivian holds meetings on sidelines of general assembly'. Print Edition | Subscribe