The Seychelles President, Mr. James Michel, has met with the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, at a meeting in the margins of the London Conference on Somalia.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon expressed deep appreciation for the efforts Seychelles is making in the fight against piracy and recognized 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, 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 activity 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 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 organization 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 James Michel also met with the United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, during a bilateral meeting in the margins of the conference.
Mrs. Clinton thanked President Michel for the appeal he had made to President 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 support given to the US Armed Forces in Seychelles, in the counter piracy surveillance program, and also commended the 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 assistance 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 James Michel held talks with the Commonwealth Secretary General, Kamalesh Sharma. Discussions centered 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.
Mr. Sharma also said that 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 programs, 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 assistance for capacity building as the expertise from the Commonwealth is crucial to our progress and sustainable development,” said the President.