Seychelles pursuing visit by French President as highlight of 250th anniversary celebration

Seychelles Annual Retreat
Seychelles Annual Retreat

Seychelles is in discussions with the French government to see if President Emmanuel Macron would visit the island nation next year during its 250th anniversary celebrations, Seychelles’ ambassador to France said.

Sylvestre Radegonde, who is also the dean of Seychelles’ ambassadors, said the island nation is working the request through its diplomatic channels, and that discussions are ongoing.

The visit would mark a capstone to Seychelles’ 250th anniversary celebrations next year. The island nation has strong historical links to France.

The disclosure about the pursuit of a Macron visit came as Vice-President Vincent Meriton who is also in charge of the Foreign Affairs portfolio closed a weeklong meeting by the Seychelles’ foreign-based diplomatic corps.

The event held at Savoy hotel in the northern Mahe district of Beau Vallon marked the end of the ambassador’s annual retreat which opened on Monday under the theme ‘Connect & Engage.’

Ten ambassadors and one chargé d’affaires took part in the retreat which provided the participants with the opportunity to define priorities and strategic objectives to further enhance Seychelles’ foreign policy.

In his address, Meriton touched on the issue of Seychelles as a high-income country, which makes it difficult to receive financial aid from donor countries.

“It is time for the world to recognise the need to implement a multidimensional index for the wellbeing, one that is more equitable and applicable for Small Island Developing States (SIDS),” said Meriton.

He said that “we therefore spare no effort, leave no stone unturned, to find new and innovative means to continue our narrative that we are still SIDS with persistent vulnerabilities.”

“We also face the challenge of having to remain at the cutting edge of innovation to finding new financing opportunities in order to meet our development objectives,” added the Vice President.

Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean – currently has 11 embassies across the world.

This was echoed by Radegonde who said that they “will work to find a strategic narrative that will allow Seychelles to continue to receive aid from the international community, thus to convince them not to penalise us for the success we have made.”

Another pertinent point brought forth in the annual retreat was the issue of climate change and its impact on Small Island Developing States.

“In 2020 we will put climate change at the forefront of our project with our international partners that we work with,” said Radegonde.

He added that “we can notice that clearly on how the weather is changing so fast. Whenever I come to Seychelles I make it my priority to observe the tides and how erosion is affecting our coast. To tackle this issue we need a joint effort and with the help of international bodies.”

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