President holds high level meetings on margins of London conference


25-February-2012

President Michel with Mr Ban Ki-moon

Mr Ban Ki-moon expressed deep appreciation for the efforts Seychelles is making in the fight against piracy  and recognised the significant contribution of Seychelles despite its size and limited resources.

President Michel thanked the United Nations for the support of its agencies, such as the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) in building capacity for the fight against piracy in Seychelles and the region.

The President and the secretary general discussed the opportunities for Somalia to develop its economy and for its youth to be empowered in various economic activities in order to deter them from becoming involved in piracy activity.

President Michel reiterated the necessity for law and order to be restored in Somalia in order to develop the country and for peace and stability to be established and expressed hope that the recent UN resolution to increase the African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) peacekeeping troops to a 17,500 strong force, would aid this process.

President Michel had written to the UN secretary general and world leaders in December 2011 to ask for, among other strategic actions, the reinforcement of the peace-keeping troops in Somalia, and expressed satisfaction that concrete actions were taking place.

“We are deeply grateful for the role the United Nations is playing in the fight against piracy and we urge the organisation to consider the need for continued support to Seychelles in order to build our capacity to bring pirates to justice. We have many constraints related to our size, and because we want to do more in this important anti-piracy mission, the continued support of the UN is invaluable,” said President Michel.

President Michel also met the United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton during a bilateral meeting on the margins of the conference.

President Michel with Mrs Clinton

Mrs Clinton thanked President Michel for the appeal he had made to President Barack Obama in December 2011, concerning the need to address the Somali crisis and the threat of piracy, and said that the United States would be committed to addressing this.

The US secretary of state thanked Seychelles for the support given to the US Armed Forces in Seychelles, in the counter piracy surveillance programme and also commended Seychelles for its excellent efforts in the fight against piracy.

President Michel expressed the readiness of Seychelles to continue providing the support as the anti‐piracy hub of the region, and outlined the necessary help that is needed to build the Seychelles capacity to prosecute pirates.

“We have excellent relations between United States and Seychelles, and this meeting has further reinforced our willingness to further develop these relations in various areas of cooperation,” said the President.

Earlier in the week, President Michel held talks with the Commonwealth secretary general, Kamalesh Sharma. Discussions centred on cooperation between the Commonwealth and Seychelles, plans for future projects as well as a review of recent work accomplished.

President Michel briefed the secretary general on the process for electoral reforms that are taking place in Seychelles, following the recommendations made by the Commonwealth observer groups last year.

Secretary general Sharma noted that many reforms had already taken place and that the Commonwealth is following closely the progress made.

President Michel with Mr Sharma

Mr Sharma also said the Commonwealth would be sending a technical team to review the Seychelles health system, as had been requested by the Seychelles government.

They also discussed projects for the development of the petroleum sector, youth programmes, legislative drafting as well as the support needed for the Seychelles’ fight against piracy and the establishment of the rule of law in Somalia.

“We are deeply appreciative of the role the Commonwealth is playing in the development of our democratic system, as well as the improvement of our mechanisms for good governance and accountability. We continue to seek help for capacity building as the expertise from the Commonwealth is crucial to our progress and sustainable development,” said the President.

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