Press release

Statement by Vice-President Danny Faure 20th ordinary session of the Assembly of the African Union Addis Ababa

January 28, 2013

Excellencies Heads of State and Government, Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me at the outset to extend my sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Ethiopian authorities for the very warm welcome and hospitality accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival in Addis Ababa.  On the threshold of the 50th anniversary of our organisation we also take this opportunity to reiterate our sympathies to the Ethiopian people for the loss of a great leader of Africa last year, H.E Mr. Meles Zenawi.

2013 is a symbolic year for our organization as it marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Organization of African Unity, the forerunner of the African Union.

Seychelles is one of those countries that owes its independence- its freedom- to the Organisation of African Unity- the precursor of our Union. We are are proud to be here in this community of freedom- freedom that many had to fight for.

As we continue to fight for the next liberation of Africa- our economic emancipation-we must call on that same resolve and determination that has brought us this far.

The serious deterioration of the situation in Mali, threatening even more the stability and integrity of Mali, shows that our continent is still not free from the scourge of conflict and violence.

On this note, Seychelles associates itself with the statement made by our Chairperson in calling the AU member states to extend the necessary logistical, financial and capacity building support to the Malian Defense and Security Forces and for the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).  We also support the regional efforts of border states.

We salute the resolve and determination of Algeria for its response to the attack on its sovereignty by terrorist elements that are seeking to use the instability of parts of our continent to advance their own agenda of anarchy and destruction.  We condemn the attack in the strongest terms, and we believe that the united response of Africa serves as message against those that seek to undermine the rule of law on our continent.

Concerning the political situation in Madagascar, we would like to reiterate our on-going support for the implementation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) roadmap.

In two sets of negotiations held in Seychelles last year, President Michel alongside President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the Chair of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security, had engaged with both President Rajoelina and former President Ravalomanana, (meeting for the first time in Seychelles), to consider not standing for the presidential elections as the best means to create a calm and conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections.

We therefore welcome the decision made by both the President lof the transition in Madagascar Mr. Rajoalina and former President Marc Ravalomanana not to take part in the presidential elections.  We reiterate our appreciation and support to the leadership of the SADC Troika in their perseverance in finding a durable solution for Madagascar.  Our particular thanks to President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania and President Jacob Zuma of the Republic of South Africa, as well as to the chairmanship of SADC under the leadership of Mozambique with the invaluable facilitation of former President Joachim Chissano.

Mr. chairman,

The Indian Ocean Commission has worked hard to support the efforts of SADC and we are pleased that the proposals floated in the meetings in Seychelles are now coming to fruition.

We would also like to reaffirm the need for the electoral calendar set to be respected and we call on all Malagasy stakeholders and on all partners supporting the end of the crisis in Madagascar to play a proactive role in ensuring that 2013 dawns a new era of hope for stability, democracy and prosperity for the Malagasy people.

We are very much aware however that it is the forthcoming elections that will truly set the tone for the future of Madagascar and we must spare no effort to ensure that these elections are credible and violence free.  The Indian Ocean Commission is moving to support SADC efforts to this end and will be bringing a contribution of over 1 million USD to this election.  The IOC will also be opening a special liaison office in Madagascar for this end.  We particularly salute the contribution of Mauritius in these funds as their contribution represents half of that amount.

In an effort to support the Malagasy people in this new chapter in the history of their nation, and to encourage the progress already made, we would therefore like to urge that we move purposefully towards reintegrating our Malagasy neighbours into our Union in time for our 50th anniversary in May.  Thus we must work with SADC towards  the consideration of lifting of sanctions as soon as possible.

Mr. Chairman,

On another front, the problem of piracy is still holding hostage the livelihood of coastal communities and sustainable development in the countries of the Indian Ocean region.

While there has been a drop in the number of acts of piracy, Seychelles and other Indian Ocean Islands are still very much weathering the storm which piracy has brought down on us over the last few years.

The loss made in our tourism and fisheries industry, the huge costs incurred to secure our waters, and the difficulties encountered in repatriating the pirates mean that the disastrous effects of piracy are still very much increasingly being felt today.

We salute the decision of the Republic of Mauritius announced recently to prosecute 12 pirates arrested in the Indian Ocean.  This represents a huge step forward in improving ‘burden sharing’ in relation to the fight against piracy and is further testament that Indian Ocean states, and African states will not tolerate impunity against criminal acts in our ocean.

We therefore call on all African states to strongly support AMISOM’s efforts in dismantling Al Shabaab operations and other extremist elements in Somalia. Introducing a maritime component to AMISOM could also be an action to consider for the future as part of the holistic approach in tackling the scourge of piracy.

We also salute the efforts of Somalia itself to bring about stability in Mogadishu and beyond.  The courage of the leadership in Somalia in rejecting extremism and criminality is a key part of the long term solution.  Seychelles stands in solidarity with you, and we stand ready to work with you within our Union and beyond to build a new economy, and a new future for Somalia.

Mr. Chairman,

As African leaders gathered here at this Summit meeting, we are acutely aware that the world needs Africa, since it is Africa that will provide the springboard for the growth necessary to its prosperity.

Much more effort also needs to be invested in boosting intra-African trade if we are to implement the continental free trade area by 2017.

Africa’s islands can play a key role towards facilitating this trade. Maritime trade is critical to the future of Africa- and Africa needs to seriously invest in developing its maritime highways.

Mr. chairman,

When addressing the issue of climate change, we must also ensure that we have access to appropriate funding from the Green Fund to empower our economies.

Following Rio + 20 and the Durban platform we cannot talk about African renaissance without also addressing the urgent need to scale up Africa’s Green economy. Africa has also the largest potential in terms of energy generation from renewable sources which still remains fully untapped.

But Africa also needs a blue economy. It is our common responsibility to effectively address the many problems impacting upon the health and productivity of our oceans such as global warming, coral bleaching, ocean acidification, pollution, overfishing and piracy.

The only question in front of us is whether we can smartly design and put in place effective and coherent policies that will bring about this green and blue revolution in Africa.

We suggest that our AU efforts on climate change also look at the question of mobilising the green and blue economy.  I thank you.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa must grasp the opportunity it has today to mould the future it deserves. Seychelles as the smallest african state stands alongside its African brothers and sisters in this common endeavour.

Demoded governance instutions reflecting the geoplotical structure of the 20th century cannot therefore continue taking decisions for Africa in the 21st century. Africa, in all its diversity, must therefore be effectivley represented in all multilateral institutions- and reform of the Security Council is key to this.

As the smallest member- we have always appreciated that the spirit of the AU has always been that of inclusion.  In Africa, every voice matters.  It is in this spirit that Seychelles has presented its candidature for the United Nations Security Council for the term 2017-2018. We look forward to the ongoing discussions at the regional level, in the traditions of inclusion, solidarity and equitable to that have always been the hallmarks of our Union.

I thank-you.