President Michel returns from inauguration-South Africa will continue support for our reforms


12-May-2009

President Michel upon his arrival at Seychelles International Airport yesterdayHe was speaking yesterday morning shortly after his return from representing Seychelles at the inauguration of South Africa’s newly elected President Jacob Zuma.

He was met on arrival at the Pointe Larue international airport by Vice-President Joseph Belmont, Chief of Defence Forces Brigadier Leopold Payet and Commissioner of Police Ernest Quatre.

Noting that South Africa has always been supportive of Seychelles – especially over its admission and later readmission into the SADC, as well as its economic reform programme – Mr Michel said under its new administration and as the main economic partner in the community, it will continue to back Seychelles in its efforts to modernise its economy.

Citing education as another area in which Seychelles can reap great benefits, he said: “Seychelles being a member of the SADC, our students can be admitted at no great cost into South African universities, as well as those in other member countries such as Namibia and Botswana through either government or privately sponsored scholarships.”
 
Mr Michel said his attendance at the inauguration of Mr Zuma – which brought together nearly all the heads of state from SADC countries, as well as from other parts of the African continent – was also a chance for him to have bilateral talks with those leaders, including the secretary-general of the SADC.

Among the highlights of these talks was the need for enhanced coordination in the fight against piracy, which is a threat not only to the economy and security of Seychelles but also to countries of the region and the Indian Ocean in general.  

Having succeeded in engaging the international community on the issue of piracy after talks with such military powers as Japan, France, Spain, the European Union, India and the USA, the President said there is now a need to bring regional partners from the African coast on board as well.

Talks Mr Michel had with regional leaders also focused on other issues affecting the region, such as the political crisis in Madagascar, which he said is of great concern not only to the Indian Ocean community but also to the SADC.

With regard to talks he had with Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mr Michel said he was told the situation in that country is improving and all parties are trying to iron out their differences through dialogue.

“It is a good sign that efforts are being undertaken to bring about unity, which is necessary to take Zimbabwe out of its crisis so it can win back recognition from the international community,” he said.

As to President Zuma’s inauguration ceremony, Mr Michel described it as a “historic” and “moving” event in the sense that it has shown once again the political maturity of the people of South Africa, a country with which Seychelles shares historical links and which Seychelles has always supported in its struggle for liberation from apartheid.

He said he was honoured to represent Seychelles at the ceremony, where our country’s presence was highly appreciated.

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