Seychelles and UAE step up bilateral ties


While in Abu Dhabi for the occasion, Foreign Affairs Minister Jean-Paul Adam met his UAE counterpart, His Highness Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Interior Minister, His Highness Sheik Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister.

Seychelles Ambassador to the UAE, Dick Esparon, was also present at the meeting and has described it as a new era in bilateral relations between the two nations

“Seychelles’ foreign policy has grown and evolved into an active economic diplomacy that recognises that we cannot just wait for the world to come to us. We must reach out to the world… And we believe there is no better place to start than in Abu Dhabi,” said Minister Adam.

In the meeting with Sheik Abdullah, the two ministers exchanged views on measures that need to be taken to resolve the situation in Somalia. Minister Adam also took the opportunity to thank the UAE for its support in the fight against piracy, notably through the recent donation of a state-of-the-art Coastguard base and radar system that would better allow the patrol and surveillance of Seychelles waters. 

The two ministers also discussed a special conference on Somalia and on piracy that the UAE will be organising in Dubai in 2012 to further raise funds for the fight against piracy, and to strengthen nation-building efforts within Somalia. 

In the meeting, the two ministers reiterated their joint commitment to continue to prosecute pirates, as a key aspect of ending the impunity associated with the crime.  The UAE has already arrested and prosecuted a number of Somali pirates.

In addition to piracy, the ministers also discussed the future widening of cooperation in renewable energy, following from President James Michel’s meeting with Masdar chief executive, Dr Sultan Al-Jaber.

Minister Adam said the potential for investment in renewable energy in Seychelles would be an example of public-private partnerships.

During his inaugural remarks at the new Seychelles embassy, the minister described the UAE engagement with renewable energy as visionary:

“All countries that believe in sustainable development must look seriously towards fast tracking investments in renewable energy to be able to contribute to the global effort to reduce emissions. Despite being an oil producer, the UAE has displayed a long-term vision which is exemplary in this regard, through the creation of Masdar city which will be the world’s first carbon neutral city.

“Our government is in the process of passing a new legislation that will empower the independent production of renewable energy in a cost-effective manner.  The new legislation will also ease the creation of commercial business-driven models. We firmly believe that renewable energy can create new opportunities for growth in this time of global distress, and the cooperation between our two countries can serve as an instigator of successful models that can be replicated elsewhere.” 

In the meeting with UAE Interior Minister, Sheik Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister Adam pursued the discussions on a future agreement on visa waivers for Seychelles nationals visiting the UAE. Discussions about the issue have been ongoing between the ministry and the UAE embassy for some time. 

In the discussions, Sheik Saif indicated the willingness of the UAE to bring these discussions to a fruitful conclusion as soon as possible and noted this would be done as soon as all the necessary requirements of legislation and process are completed. 

He noted for example that the UAE has introduced a system of iris recognition at all airports and this brought certain specific challenges that need to be addressed before visa waiver agreements could be concluded.

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