Press release

Diplomatic Cocktail 2024

February 23, 2024
StateHouse

On Friday 23rd February 2024, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, held his annual Diplomatic Cocktail under the theme “Leveraging Diplomacy to Overcome Emerging Challenges”.

Minister Radegonde remarked that the annual event is for Seychelles “to say thank you for the valued partnership between our nations and our peoples, and to reaffirm our shared commitment to promoting the lasting principles that we want to see in our countries and around the world.

Your support, particularly following the disaster on December 7th, shows us how privileged we are to have friends such as yourselves in our time of need.”

In line with this year’s theme, the Minister noted that “…with every passing year, we are faced with emerging crises that are spreading and gaining proximity to our peaceful shores. The failure of the international system to address the root causes of these issues have compounded the erosion of trust in the multilateral system and challenged our principles and traditional methods of diplomatic relation.

The Minister pointed out that Seychelles “has to determine how best to safeguard and promote its national interests amidst shifting geopolitical landscapes and the multitude of global issues facing the country.”

Embracing a stance of non-alignment, Seychelles navigates the international arena with a principled commitment to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. This posture empowers us to engage diplomatically on the world stage, unfettered by allegiance to any particular bloc or alliance. Despite our non-aligned status, Seychelles remains steadfast in its resolve to articulate our perspectives with clarity and conviction, even when they may diverge from those of our international partners and at times in the face of external pressures,” he added.

In this vein, Minister Radegonde emphasized that, “we firmly uphold the principle of voicing our positions with respect and assertiveness, standing firm on matters of principle or disagreement while preserving the integrity of our diplomatic relations.”

On the important issue of maritime security, the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism stated that, “Seychelles cannot ignore the dangerous and disruptive attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea and must assume the shared responsibility for protecting our region with committed partners. We cannot subscribe to upholding the rule of law and shy away from its violation in areas of direct interest to us. With our modest means and existing commitment to the Combined Maritime Forces, our limited involvement in Operation Prosperity Guardian demonstrates that we deplore violations of international law and reaffirm our willingness to follow through on our maritime security interests.”

He further pointed out that Seychelles is guided by its principles and adheres to international laws and remains committed to maintaining peace, justice, and human rights within its borders, while also advocating for these values on the global stage. “We reiterate our condemnation of any action, by any country, that is in violation of the UN Charter. We unequivocally condemned the horrific attacks carried out by Hamas on Israeli civilians on October 7th and join the call for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages still being held. We will continue to condemn the indiscriminate use of force by Israel in Gaza and implore them to show restraint for the sake of saving the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians. The grave humanitarian disaster demands an immediate ceasefire. Seychelles firmly supports the two-state solution as the only viable path towards achieving lasting peace in the Middle East. We believe that the establishment of two independent states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security, is essential to address the underlying causes of the conflict and to uphold the rights and aspirations of both peoples.”

The Minister added that “we share the scepticism of those who question the ability of the UN Security Council to deliver on its mandate of maintaining world peace and protecting those who cannot protect themselves. It is high time that the Security Council is reformed to reflect the realities of the 21st century and ensure equitable representation in the decision-making processes.

Minister Radegonde also acknowledged that as a Small Island Developing State (SIDS), it is imperative that Seychelles remains focused on the climate crisis that the country and the rest of the world are currently confronting. “The 4th SIDS Conference in May in Antigua and Barbuda will be crucial in delivering a tailored programme of action for SIDS to achieve the SDGs, with 2030 fast approaching and many of us adrift from attaining the goals. External debt sustainability remains a huge inhibitor to our development. With the release of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index report, we call on our development partners for their cooperation in the adoption of the MVI framework and encourage its incorporation into existing policies and practices.”

Regarding Seychelles taking up the Chairmanship of the Indian Ocean Commission, the Minister highlighted that, “as we take over the helm of the Commission de l’Océan Indien (COI) in May this year, we intend to take a more leadership role in addressing current challenges, notably in relation to connectivity among the islands and maritime security. As COI Chair, Seychelles will build upon the notable achievements of the Commission, through leveraging diplomacy and partnerships to strengthen regional stability and security. Seychelles will undertake to, collaboratively, pursue common objectives to deliver on the aspirations of the population of all IOC member-states, which include that of prosperity.”

During her speech, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Ambassador Alexander Azais, stated that “Despite the disasters the country had to face recently, economy is growing, tourism blooms as well as our civil society. The respect for human rights, the foreign policy inspired by mutual respect and neutrality towards all our friendly nations is a sign of political maturity and moral values.” 

On behalf of her colleagues, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, expressed appreciation to Minister Radegonde and the staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism for assisting to “facilitate our projects and to encourage the cooperation for the well-being of the Seychellois people and for the sincere friendship they show daily to us as well as all Governmental Institutions and our dear President.