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Vice President Vincent Meriton’s Address at the Diplomatic Reception 2020

28.02.2020

It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this year’s annual diplomatic reception.  We have had an eventful 2019 and your presence here testifies to the strong ties that Seychelles has with its bilateral partners. I would like to express our sincere gratitude for your unwavering support and collaboration.

Following the departure of the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, H.E Mr. Vladimir Belous, I would like to welcome his successor H.E.Mr. Juan Humberto Macias Pino, whom I am certain will continue to play a pivotal role in the rapprochement of our countries.

This year we have also witnessed the opening of the new Embassy of Japan joining a growing family of resident missions here in Seychelles.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

Let me begin by expressing the appreciation of the Government and people of Seychelles, to all our committed partners who continue to go out of their way to understand and appreciate how Seychelles views itself in an ever changing and tumultuous world.

We remain cognizant of the fact that as a small island developing state our continued progress and development is inextricably linked to our engagement and collaboration with you all.

We have proven on numerous occasions, over the course of last year that our size will not constitute the barometer on which our actions are measured. We have continued to make strides with a renewed sense of pragmatism as we drive our foreign service into 2020 and beyond.

This is in part due to all our diplomats at “Maison  Quéau de Quinssy” and at our missions abroad who  rise to the challenge  and help create a dynamic, innovative and proactive diplomacy ensuring that we formulate positions on global issues and defend our key foreign policy interests.

Our foreign policy aims to promote Seychelles’ fundamental interests and core values, while  remaining aware of our position in the world, and recognizing that our own national interests are best defended through both bilateral and multilateral approaches.

Excellencies,  

This year, the world received a stark warning from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

 

The IPCC report has highlighted that we have less than a decade to remain or reduce the current levels of emissions to keep the increase temperatures below 1.5 degrees centigrade. Failure to achieve this target will spell catastrophe for mankind.

In this context, Seychelles will remain a champion in advocating and finding innovative solutions to mitigate the adverse impacts of a changing climate. As islanders we realise that we are at the frontlines of this battle on which our livelihoods depend.

The world has heeded our calls to secure a future for our children.

Just this past year, Seychelles’ Blue Economy leadership role was recognised on numerous occasions:

i)                    In April 2019, President Danny Faure was the first global leader to address the world on the protection of our ocean from a Nekton Mission submersible, some 124 meters below the ocean surface.  This live transmission caught the world’s attention and gave greater prominence to the impacts directly affecting us.

ii)                  In June 2019, President Danny Faure and Former President James Michel were jointly awarded the National Geographic Society’s prestigious ‘Planetary and Leadership Award’ in recognizing two leaders who have successfully established significant protected areas.

iii)                Just last week, President Faure took part in a BBC programme with the queen of the ocean Dr. Sylvia Earle, a world famous ocean explorer and keen advocate of marine protection. The BBC programme in partnership with luxury brand Rolex, is about raising awareness on the current state of the ocean and the latest global research on what can be done to protect it.

Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen

In addition to the existential threat of climate change, this past year has seen a global rise in hate crimes as well as a resurgence in international terrorism.

We will continue to condemn in the strongest terms all acts of terror directed at the innocent. From Sri Lanka to New Zealand, we have seen catastrophic loss of life. Ongoing conflicts with no end in sight are also undermining the international community’s efforts in upholding peace and security.  

 

Seychelles will continue to advocate for peaceful resolutions to conflicts and disputes through dialogue and diplomatic processes.

Maritime Security remains key to the continued stability and security of Seychelles. With our international partners, we will work tirelessly to ensure the integrity and protection of our territorial waters.  We thank our friends in the international community for helping us to secure our ocean spaces.

Whilst promoting our visibility and leadership  on the global stage, we need to continue our efforts on the subregional and regional level through a system of engagement incorporating the COI, SADC, COMESA and the African Union in order to ensure that our voices are amplified amongst the roars of more powerful nations in the wider community.

Our approach to diplomacy will continue to be based on pragmatism and reciprocity.

As such Seychelles will continue to advocate that ‘might is not right’ and that the equality of sovereign states should be one of cooperating on equal footing.

Another important cornerstone for peace and security is the promotion of national reconciliation.

At home, we have taken the difficult step to establish the Truth, Reconciliation and National Unity Commission, who many of you may be following the ongoing cases, to bring genuine peace and reconciliation in our society.

As we look to the future of diplomacy, we have come to the realisation that ‘digital diplomacy’ is an essential tool in the dissemination of our foreign policy aspirations. We - as a small island state isolated from the continental masses need to find innovative ways of engagement. Digital diplomacy which includes the use of website, Wi-Fi, and more recently the intensive use of social media offers us ‘soft power’ measures to increase our visibility globally. 

The Department has recently updated its website,  created Twitter and Facebook accounts and is in contact with missions abroad through social media platforms. 

Excellences

Mesdames et Messieurs,

Les Seychelles se sont toujours préoccupées de faire en sorte que sa diplomatie puise dans ses réalités et soit en phase avec les principes universels de la démocratie, de droits humains, et en harmonie avec ses spécificités.

 

En droite ligne des orientations prescrites par le Président de la République, Monsieur Danny Faure, nous avons porté haut le message de notre pays. Nous avons défendu ses intérêts, témoigné de ses valeurs et œuvré pour la paix et le développement.

C’est dans cet esprit qu’en 2019, nos ambassadeurs ont présenté leurs lettres de créance dans dix pays.

En retour, 28 Ambassadeurs de pays amis ont présenté leurs lettres de créance au Président de la République, pendant la même période.

On retiendra également qu’au cours de la même période, douze (12) demandes d’ouverture de Consulat honoraires ont été approuvées par le Gouvernement.

Aujourd’hui, ensemble avec les Consuls honoraires, tous nos ambassadeurs s’appliquent à élargir la visibilité des Seychelles, à revaloriser nos axes de coopération, à promouvoir l’intégration économique régionale et africaine et en recherchant une plus grande diversité au niveau des partenaires.

C’est dans ce contexte que s’ouvrira le 6 mars prochain à Mahé, le 34ème Conseil des Ministres de la Commission de l’Océan Indien. Après une présidence au cours de laquelle les Seychelles auront piloté les réformes nécessaires à la modernisation de l’Accord de Victoria, je céderai la présidence au Ministre des Affaires Etrangères de L’Union des Comores.

Vous me permettrez donc, à ce stade, de dire toute ma reconnaissance aux autres ministères et départements, aux structures partenaires et aux acteurs de la société civile pour leur accompagnement intelligent et efficace de notre action diplomatique régionale.

A tous les Ambassadeurs et Consuls ici présents, je voudrais aussi adresser mes remerciements pour l’engagement qu’ils dédient quotidiennement à consolider les relations des Seychelles avec leurs pays.

Chers amis,

Depuis le debut de l’année, la Chine mène une lutte inedite et acharnée contre l’épidémie Covid19. 

 

Nous sommes conscient que la Chine s’est toujours engagée à contribuer à la santé publique africaine, et je voudrais a ce point, souligner la solidarité du gouvernement et du peuple seychellois envers le gouvernement Chinois ainsi que tous les pays atteints de cette épidémie. 

Avec une collaboration aux niveaux scientifiques, médicaux et humains, nous sommes convaincus qu’ils viendront rapidement à bout de cette épreuve.

En somme, Mesdames et Messieurs, au-delà de ce traditionnel échange annuel de vœux qui nous réunit ce soir, je voudrais vous dire que les

Seychelles sont bien honorées de vivre avec vous et d’entretenir les liens d’amitié, de coopération et de solidarité avec les pays et les organisations que vous représentez.

Merci beaucoup pour votre soutien.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

To conclude, I would like to express our gratitude to the Diplomatic Corps and to the Consular Corps for all your support and continued friendship to Seychelles.

I therefore take this opportunity to raise my glass, and invite you all to join me in toasting to our achievements of 2019 and to many more successes during 2020.

Thank you and have a great evening.

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