Seychelles President James Michel received President Mahinda Rajapaksa of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka at State House this morning. The two leaders discussed state affairs in a tete-a-tete meeting before joining a bilateral meeting, which was also attended by Vice President Danny Faure, Ministers, and other high officials from the Sri Lankan delegation.
The discussions centered on cooperation projects and agreements between Seychelles and Sri Lanka on matters of trade and investment, air links, cooperation in the banking sector, fisheries, maritime, defense, education, health, tourism, energy, legal affairs, piracy, and small industries development.
President Michel noted the importance for Seychelles and Sri Lanka to implement the blue economy concept and unlock the true potential of the Indian Ocean.
“Your Excellency, it is with immense pleasure that I welcome you and your delegation to Seychelles. Your visit here in Seychelles is a landmark of friendship and strong collaboration developing within our two countries. We have made remarkable progress in our bilateral cooperation in many areas such as in education and training, defense, trade, fisheries, health, judiciary, and renewable energy. Your visit will undoubtedly consolidate our relations and progress achieved. There is no better way to celebrate the anniversary of the 25 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between our two Indian Ocean states,” said President Michel in his remarks.
During the meeting, President Rajapaska confirmed that SriLankan Airlines are keen to start flights to Seychelles this year and that the details of these new air links will be further discussed in the near future.
President James Michel welcomed the decision, adding that the air links would boost trade and tourism between Sri Lanka and Seychelles.
“The new flights will surely open doorways for business, tourism, cooperation, and trade exchanges between Seychelles and Sri Lanka. Seychelles can become a gateway to Africa and other parts of the world. The air links will be a catalyst to ensure increased cooperation between our two countries,” said President Michel.
President Rajapaksa thanked President Michel for the warm welcome and hospitality extended to his delegation, adding: “Is it a great pleasure and honor to be here in Seychelles. Your visit to Sri Lanka in August 2012 was a landmark event in our relations. We hope for stronger cooperation and avenues for new relations in other fields as well,” remarked President Rajapaksa.
President Michel has conveyed his gratitude to President Rajapaksa for the contribution Sri Lanka is making in the Seychelles’ sphere of development. He thanked President Rajapaksa for his country’s sincerity and true friendship, adding that this state visit will give more impetus to the two countries’ relations.
“Islands have a critical role to play in reforming and developing the world’s multilateral architecture in order to build a fairer global order where all voices are heard and can benefit from this. Islands are barometers for development and are today demonstrating global leadership in addressing sustainable development challenges and are inspiring other countries across the globe to do the same. We are among the most high-risk areas, which are likely to suffer disproportionately from the negative impacts of climate change. Sri Lanka and Seychelles need to work closely together to make voices of the unheard heard. We can influence the shaping of the island countries and be an example to the world,” said President Michel.
Following their meeting, the two leaders witnessed the signing of three cooperation agreements between the government of Seychelles and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.