Designated Minister Vincent Meriton speech for Russia Day June 11th 2015
Your Excellency, Mr. Vladimir BELOUS, Ambassador of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Seychelles, and Mrs. Alla BELOUS,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure for me to be amongst you today to celebrate Russia’s National Day.
Please accept the apologies of my colleague Joel Morgan Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport, who is on overseas mission.
On behalf of President James Michel, the Government and the People of Seychelles, it is my honour to present to H.E President Vladimir Putin, the Government and the people of the Russian Federation our heartfelt congratulations and sincere wishes on this most auspicious occasion.
A national day is a day like no other. It is a unique moment that reminds us of the history, the trials and the triumphs of our nations.
Russia is no different. Its rich and industrious history reflects the long and hard road its people travelled to become the strong, resilient and leading nation that it is today.
At this point, allow me to say that Seychelles acknowledges the very difficult regional situation that Russia is confronted with. We are fully confident that Russia, who bore the brunt of Nazi invasion in World War II and whose sacrifice and heroism brought peace to the world, will continue to avail of all diplomatic avenues in ensuring that stability, peace and good neighbourly relations are maintained.
The people of Seychelles is more than happy to join the Russian community around the world in celebrating this special day.
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen
Our two countries may be separated by miles and oceans, but the ties between our peoples remain close.
Russia is a key ally for Seychelles. Our strong bilateral cooperation is characterised by past engagements and continued collaboration in a number of sectors. In times of need, for example in the settlement of our debts, Russia has been a faithful friend for Seychelles.
In fact, I was privileged to lead the Seychelles delegation in our meeting with Mr. Bogdanov to explore further areas of cooperation.
The official visit by Dr Patrick Herminie the Speaker of the National Assembly and his delegation to Russia in November 2014 was another productive exchange at parliamentary level
In the field of maritime security, Russia is one of our most important partners. The presence of the Russian navy in the Indian Ocean in general and in our waters in particular continues to reinforce the security needed to safeguard trade routes from pirate attacks and help in preventing other transnational crimes such as drug, arms and human trafficking.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Allow me to reiterate that the safeguarding of our Blue Economy is a necessity for the future development and prosperity of Seychelles.
The tourism and fishing industries are the motors of our economy and we look forward to further engagement with Russia to maximize the potential benefits that exist.
I am pleased to state that last year, a record number of Russian tourists visited Seychelles. We hope that this positive trend continues especially with the eventual signing of the visa-waiver agreement later this year and the continued chartered flights by Transaero airlines and other connecting flights between Russia and Seychelles.
The Government of Seychelles will continue to encourage more investment from Russia and also promote further trade between our two countries. Finalizing a Double Taxation Agreement and the Bilateral Air Services Agreement remains a top priority for us.
We are certain it will help intensify our trade and people to people relations. Moreover, we look forward to continuing our well established collaborations in the fields of military, police and education.
As the COP 21 meeting to be held in Paris later this year draws near, Seychelles, as well as fellow Small Island Developing States, urge Russia to support our arguments and requests to finalize a legally binding agreement to bring down global emissions and keep global warming at its minimum.
We hope that in the fight against climate change, Russia will stand by us, by those who are most vulnerable.
We are equally confident that the relationship between our two countries and peoples will get stronger.
It is my hope that this relationship, built on mutual respect and friendship, will allow our two countries to seize the opportunities for sustainable development and the creation of a better future for all of us.
Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, I now have the pleasure to invite you to join me in a toast to the good health of H.E President Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, to the prosperity of the people of the Russian Federation, and to the friendship between our two nations.
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