Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRA): MRA contributes to the formulation and implementation of Singapore's foreign policy to advance our national interests. It does this by forging strong partnerships at the bilateral and multilateral levels and positioning Singapore as a responsible and constructive member of the international community. This includes haring developmental experience wit other countries through the Singapore Cooperation Programme. Besides that, it provides consular assistance, or help and advice to Singaporeans at home or abroad. MFA assists in maintaining Singapore's external security through diplomacy. For example, Singapore is active in the Association of Southeast Asian States (ASEAN) Through ASEAN, Singapore has strengthened its relationships with its regional neighbours which promotes regional peace and this in turn ensures external security. Example, Singapore and the ASEAN founding members strongly contested the Vietnamese occupation of Cambodia in 1978 that threatened regional security and stability. Singapore also engages in international diplomacy as a member of the United Nations since its independence in 1965. Since 1989, Singapore has sent over 400 police, SAF and civil service officers on UN peacekeeping missions to various counties, example in Iraq (2003 - 2008) where more than 990 SAF personnel participated in a multinational effort to assist in the reconstruction of Iraq. Membership of the UN allows Singapore to gain recognition as a sovereign state, contributing indirectly to her independence and territorial integrity. Membership of the UN also enables a small country such as Singapore to develop friendship with other nations, monitor world trends, collect valuable information and able to react more advantageously thereby ensuring external security.