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Speech by Minister Jean-Paul Adam for the reception on the occasion of Queen Elizabeth IIs Official Birthday hosted by High Commissioner Lindsay Skoll and Mr. Richard Skoll, on 13th June 2013

13.06.2013

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On this auspicious occasion, we unite with the rest of the Commonwealth family in wishing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and members of the Royal Family continued good health, happiness and prosperity.

As the longest serving monarch after Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth has been at the forefront of change and positive actions led by Great Britain in the last 60 years.

Among the many changes she has overseen is the accession to independence by the Republic of Seychelles 37 years ago.

We are pleased on this occasion, to celebrate the strength of the ties that exist also between Seychelles and the UK, and which have evolved into a multi-dimensional and strategic partnership since independence.

We are also honoured on this occasion to have among us the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, who is a guest of Seychelles on the occasion of our 20th anniversary of National Day.

We are proud to be able to celebrate this evening our historical affinity with the UK in tandem with our own 20th anniversary of the National Day, as well as recalling the 50th anniversary of the African Union.

These multiple celebrations allow us, as Seychellois to reflect on our melting pot of cultures which is implicitly part of our own national identity.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Seychelles and the UK have developed a particularly strong bond based on protecting our maritime highways.

British support for military operations in the region with regards to the fight against the scourge of piracy has been far reaching. Britain has played an extensive role as part of the Atalanta, EU NAVFOR operations thanks to which, we have managed to secure the Indian Ocean thus protecting our Blue Economy.

We also note the importance of the two conferences on Somalia organised in London, bringing key partners from the region and around the world to find ways to better support the building of a viable state.

Seychelles reiterates its support for these efforts led by the UK Government.

Creating a climate where governance can be established in Somalia is imperative to the livelihood of the Indian Ocean, and the pledge of 60.3million USD as part of an internationally coordinated programme to help rebuild Somalia, widely indicates the level of engagement that has been secured for Somalia.

It is clear that Somalia must be able to make use of the development potential of its coastline, and Seychelles’ stands ready to offer its modest contribution towards strengthening regional capacities in terms of management of our maritime spaces, as well as building fisheries capacity for Somalia.

The gradual resumption of maritime activities in our seas is testament to the partnerships on maritime security that have worked between Seychelles and the UK, as well as with the wider international community.

Allow me to note at this juncture, that the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions and Intelligence Centre (RAPPIC), of which the UK is a co-host, and which was launched on February 25th this year, in the presence of Minister for Maritime Security, Mr. Alistair Burt MP of the UKFCO, further attests to Britain’s ongoing commitment to maintaining a secure maritime environment.

And we remind ourselves, that even as piracy attacks are on the wane, we must enhance our capacity to secure our maritime space to face the threats of narcotics trafficking and other similar criminal pursuits.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

Our partnership with the UK is also one based on building the human capacity of our nation.  The Chevening scholarships are an example of investing in the leadership potential of our nation.

I also take this opportunity to salute initiatives to reward our most promising young story-tellers and artists as was flagged during the recently held debate on the Commonwealth Charter.

This brings me to reflect on the positive values that the Seychelles and the UK share as members of the Commonwealth family- a Commonwealth family built on values and principles.

This year we saw the birth of the first Commonwealth Charter, deliberations for which Seychelles actively participated in.

Our adoption of this charter, the subsequent unveiling of its Creole version and the debate organized on the Charter to mark Commonwealth day in Seychelles have symbolically reinforced the principles and ideals of the Commonwealth in our society.

Our shared values of peace, democracy, development, justice and human rights – which are found in our new ‘Commonwealth Charter’ – mean that more efforts should be invested in ensuring that everyone participate in the international discussions on how to achieve this goal, especially the smallest members.

It is in this spirit that Seychelles has presented its candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council 2017-2018.

As an African small island state, we can bring a unique perspective to the work of the Council.

As one of the smallest units of the international system- unilateralism is never an option!

We thus come to the table with no hidden agenda, and as a constructive partner motivated by our strong will to add value to the discussions and work with other members of the Council to make a difference.

Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

 

We appreciate the support of the UK for the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States.

 

We welcome the recognition of the particular vulnerabilities of SIDS in the new Commonwealth Charter, and Seychelles will be working with all its partners to ensure that the right means are available to tackle these unique vulnerabilities.  In this context we will be hosting in July a meeting of the Small Island States of the African and South East Asian region to discuss development frameworks for island in the post Rio and post 2015 development landscape.

Emphasis will be placed on how to unlock the true potential of the blue economy and we look forward to working with the UK and the Commonwealth family on developing this concept.

Excellencies and ladies and gentlemen,

In conclusion, we wish to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the team at the British High Commission in Victoria, to the High Commissioner herself, Mrs. Lindsay Skoll who continues to carry out her role with great enthusiasm and dedication, and to Mr. Richard Jones, Deputy High Commissioner who unfortunately will be leaving us at the end of this month.

It now gives me great pleasure to raise my glass in wishing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II our best wishes on her birthday. May she continue to enjoy good health and happiness, and to grace us with her courage and determination for many years to come.

I also raise my glass to the close bonds of friendship and partnership that exist between the UK and Seychelles.

I thank-you.

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