Press release

To all members of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

September 29, 2009

It has given me great pleasure to meet with you all today as I toured the Ministry.

As I take on the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, I would like to express my thanks to all members of this ministry who have contributed to put Seychelles on the map- to make us shine on the international stage.

The role of Foreign Affairs could not be more important at this juncture. We are at a critical moment of our history. We all need to play an active role in promoting our country’s ideals and interests on the international stage.

I am counting on every one of you to be the ambassadors that our nation needs at this time.

As we emerge from our successful economic reforms- there are many more challenges ahead:

– Climate change is a matter of survival for small island states- it is our human right for existence and we must ensure that we continue to press our case at every opportunity.

– Seychelles cannot afford to be isolated, and we must actively promote our position within regional groupings. Through our membership of the Indian Ocean Commission, SADC, COMESA, the AU- we must position Seychelles as an active partner in the regional development process. If we delay or hesitate, we will lose out.

– We must build on strong bilateral partnerships; enhancing existing bonds and exploring new avenues of cooperation with new economic powers.

– The threat of piracy has redefined the concept of our national security and the way that we approach security considerations in international fora. We must continue to build enduring cooperation with our partners to ensure our nation’s security.

– Our economic reforms have built our resilience as a nation. But we remain a highly vulnerable economy due our geographic position and lack of economies of scale. We must continue to strive for recognition of our specificities and champion the cause of small island states.

– We need to pursue a policy of dynamic economic diplomacy to ensure that we garner maximum financial assistance where available to better mitigate against this vulnerability.

Every challenge, also brings opportunities.

As officers and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, I am counting on you to seize the opportunities that are available to our country.

I am counting on you to think innovatively and propose ideas.

I have also always placed a lot of emphasis on discipline and the principles of hard work. The realm of diplomacy is one which requires commitment and focus. I expect the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to reflect the highest standards possible and serve as an example of what a small country can achieve with a hard working civil service.

I take this opportunity to thank Minister Patrick pillay for his many years of dedicated service to the Republic. He has been Seychelles’ advocate around the world in many capacities. We salute his selfless pursuit of the Seychelles’ national interest in the strongest spirit of patriotism.

I congratulate Mr. Joseph Nourrice on his appointment as Ambassador of the Republic, and I thank him for his hard work and leadership during his tenure as Principal Secretary. The qualities that he has displayed in this post will serve him well as Seychelles’ representative in important regional organizations and on the African continent and beyond.

Ambassador Barry Faure will be taking up the post of Principal Secretary in the ministry in due course, after the necessary formalities have been completed in Brussels. I am confident that his vision and drive will further guide the Ministry to greater heights. I also congratulate Ms. Vivianne Fock-Tave on her appointment as Ambassador to succeed Ambassador Faure in Brussels.

Finally, we all join together to express our thanks and appreciation to Ambassador Noellie Alexander who has served her country diligently for many years and has influenced so many people in positive ways.

I believe in a dynamic diplomatic service which is adaptable and ready to meet the challenges of an ever changing world. The rotation of our ambassadors ensures that our diplomats benefit from maximum exposure and exchange of ideas. We all benefit from sharing ideas with each other, and this is one the basic principles of diplomacy.

I look forward to working with you all until such time that a specific Minister is appointed to the post.

There is a lot of work for us to do. I thank you for your support.

Yours sincerely,

James A. Michel