Australia welcomes and acts on Seychelles views


06-March-2012

The Australian delegation – Ms Vegting, Mr Fisher (1st and 2nd left) and Commander Boulton (right) -- with President Michel yesterday at State House

He was speaking after holding talks with President James Michel in the company of Australian high commissioner Sandra Vegting and commander Richard Boulton of their country’s warship HMAS Melbourne which was in Port Victoria in response to a request Mr Michel made during his last visit to Australia.

Mr Fisher said he told Mr Michel that Australia appreciates the cooperation we have with Seychelles on Indian Ocean matters.

“Australia very much thinks of itself as a partner of Seychelles on Indian Ocean matters and we follow Seychelles advice in a whole range of issues which concern the Indian Ocean,” he said.

He said some of the advice Australia has taken cover “political issues where Seychelles has taken a leading role” involving countries he named.

“Seychelles has been a leader in a whole lot of regional developments and we have very much profited from the advice that Seychelles has been able to do for us, for example in the area of combating piracy.

He said Seychelles asked Australia to contribute more forcefully to the fight against piracy “and this we have been able to do”.

It was Ms Vegting who said Mr Michel requested Australia to send a warship to this region “as a physical manifestation of Australia’s support”.

“We have a navy ship in port at the moment – the HMAS Melbourne – which is part of the anti-piracy, anti-piracy terrorism action which is being led internationally in the group,” said Mr Fisher, noting even though his country has been taking part in the fight, this is the first time that a ship from the fleet has come here.

Commander Boulton and high commissioner Vegting said crew from the ship took part in community work where they cleaned up and painted the senior citizens home at the St Elizabeth Convent.

For his part, President Michel has thanked the government of Australia for the support it is giving to Seychelles in various fields of cooperation, such as the fight against piracy, as well as the recent training of Seychellois life guards by Australian professionals.

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