Press release

Seychelles Steps Up Bilateral relations with UAE

November 30, 2011

Following the opening of the new Seychelles Embassy in Abu Dhabi last Thursday, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, has met with his counterpart, the Minister for Foreign Affairs for the United Arab Emirates, His Highness, Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and with the Minister for the Interior, His Highness, Sheik Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister.

These discussions follow pledges made by Minister Adam and the new Seychelles Ambassador to the UAE, Mr. Dick Esparon, to strengthen existing ties and cooperation’s, which the Ambassador described as marking a new era of in bilateral relations between the two nations.

“Seychelles foreign policy has grown and evolved into an active economic diplomacy that recognizes that we cannot just wait for the world to come to us. We must reach out to the world… And we believe there is no better place to start than in Abu Dhabi,” said Minister Adam.

In the meeting with Sheik Abdullah, the two ministers exchanged views on measures that need to be taken to resolve the situation in Somalia. Minister Adam also took the opportunity to thank the UAE for its support in the fight against piracy, notably through the recent donation of a state of the art Coastguard base and radar system that would better allow the patrol and surveillance of Seychelles waters.

The two Ministers also discussed a special conference on Somalia and on piracy that the UAE will be organizing in Dubai in 2012 to further raise funds for the fight against piracy, and to strengthen nation building efforts within Somalia.

In the meeting, both Ministers reiterated their joint commitment to continue to prosecute pirates, as a key aspect of ending the impunity associated with the crime. The UAE has already arrested and prosecuted a number of Somali pirates.

In addition to piracy, the Ministers also discussed the future widening of cooperation in renewable energy, following from the President’s meeting with the CEO of MASDAR. Minister Adam highlighted, that the potential for investment in renewable energy in Seychelles would be an example of public private partnerships.

During his inaugural remarks at the new Seychelles Embassy, the Minister described the UAE engagement with renewable energy as visionary:

“All countries that believe in sustainable development must look seriously towards fast tracking investments in renewable energy to be able to contribute to the global effort to reduce emissions. Despite being an oil producer, the UAE has displayed a long term vision which is exemplary in this regard, through the creation of MASDAR city- which will be the world’s first carbon neutral city.

“Our government is in the process of passing new legislation that will empower the independent production of renewable energy in a cost effective manner. The new legislation will also facilitate the creation of commercial business driven models. We firmly believe that renewable energy can create new opportunities for growth in this time of global distress, and the cooperation between our two countries can serve as an instigator of successful models that can be replicated elsewhere.”

In the meeting with the Interior Minister, HH Sheik Saif Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister Adam pursued the discussions on a future agreement on visa waivers for Seychelles nationals visiting the UAE which has been ongoing between the ministry and the UAE Embassy.

In the discussions, HH Sheik Saif indicated the willingness of the UAE to bring these discussions to a fruitful conclusion as soon as possible, and noted that this would be done as soon as all the necessary requirements of legislation and process were completed. He noted for example that the UAE had introduced a system of iris recognition at all airports and this brought certain specific challenges that need to be addressed before visa waiver agreements could be concluded.