VP meets Commonwealth rep


Vice-President Belmont with Mrs Mugasha

Mrs Florence Mugasha, who is in the country to attend a regional Youth–HIV/Aids workshop, held talks with the Vice-President at State House, where they compared notes on a range of current and proposed bilateral projects.

With the focus mainly on education, HIV and gender mainstreaming, the deputy secretary-general said that she had discussed the type of assistance that could be offered in future and the progress of projects already implemented.

More extensive discussions between Seychelles and the Commonwealth are due to be entered into during a follow-up visit in the coming weeks by Mrs Mugasha's colleague Pat Cox.

Asked about Seychelles’ role in the international organisation, Mrs Mugasha said that, in spite of the country's diminutive size, Seychelles is playing a very big role in the Commonwealth.

"We have appreciated the progress made by the youth, by women and activities taking place in the economy of the country. We know there are problems like anywhere else but they are doing their level best," she said.

Despite some international scepticism about the importance of the Commonwealth, Mrs Mugasha suggested that, "when you are a group of 53 countries united on one issue everyone is bound to listen to us."

According to Mrs Mugasha the Commonwealth is currently focusing on democratic and economic issues and hopes, by speaking as a unified body, to sway international opinion, despite the inherent difficulties in reaching agreement amongst such different countries.

"(Agreement) is gradually coming. It is not very easy, but everyone is realising that if we are to have development in world politics and world trade we need to speak with one voice," she said.

With regards to the recent controversy surrounding the threatened withdrawal of Mauritius from the Commonwealth – in order to mount a legal challenge to the UK's policy over the Chagos – Mrs Mugasha said that withdrawal from the organisation would be a last resort for the Mauritians and that it was not an option currently on the table.

"I don't think that they will withdraw. We have had discussions and we are trying to encourage a dialogue between them and the British government so we can sort it out," she said.


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