Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is truly an immense pleasure for me to be among you all today to celebrate Russia Day.
On behalf of President Michel, the Government and the People of Seychelles, I would like to express our heartfelt congratulations and sincere wishes of further progress and prosperity to the people of Russia on this most auspicious occasion.
As Russia celebrates over 20 years of nationhood and Seychelles celebrates this year the 20th anniversary of our third republic- we are more than ever encouraged by the prospects of the bond that we share with the Russian Federation.
Moreover, while the Russian Federation is a historic friend of Seychelles, our ties of friendship and partnership are also strongly entrenched in today’s life.
They are alive in the hearts and minds of our people, in the enthusiasm of our students in Russia, workers or tourists discovering each other's countries and ways of life, exchanging experiences, and opening up to new perspectives.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Seychelles and Russia have a good story to tell in terms of economic partnership.
We continue to witness a positive inflow of FDI into the Seychelles. In fact, Russia ranks 3rd in terms of foreign direct investments in Seychelles.
We continue to witness increasing numbers of Russian tourists coming to our shores. The numbers have gone up from 8,840 in 2011, to 13,494 in 2012.
Our cooperation also continues to reflect increasing ties of development in various other sectors such as the military, culture, education, sports and others.
We had the honour of welcoming once again to the Seychelles the Russian naval officers in the 2013 Carnaval Internationale de Victoria, and Russia’s participation in this event is becoming a hallmark of our melting pot of cultures.
With the upcoming 20th National Day celebrations of Seychelles, we are pleased to welcome the naval officers of the Russian Navy Ship ‘F-712 Neustrashimy’ who will be participating in our National Day parade.
We also look forward to the continued presence of the Russian Navy ships in our region as they further help to eradicate the threat of piracy and help restore the region as a safe place for trade, fishing and tourism.
We also look forward to further negotiations to conclude a renewed Air Services Agreement. Conclusion of this agreement will help to put into place a more modern air services framework which would provide the necessary airline operation between our two countries and indeed boost tourism exchanges between us even more.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Seychelles and Russia are close partners in the global community.
We share a profound respect for multilateralism and international law.
It is in this spirit that Seychelles has presented its candidature for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council and we look forward to working with Russia in further promoting the noble ideals of the United Nations family.
Seychelles geo-strategic location in the Indian-Ocean region means that there is much scope that could be given to our relations with Russia.
Like the Seychelles, Russia also has its own history and special relationship with the Ocean. It is bounded by the waters of 13 seas which are a part of three oceans: the Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
There is much Russia and Seychelles can share with each other to bring forward the concept of the blue economy as the international community takes on the ambitious yet extremely important task of redefining mankind’s relationship with the oceans which is the next frontier of sustainable development for the world.
We know that we can also count on Russia to encourage more dialogue between the G8, G20 and BRICS with other groupings like the Small Island Developing States on matters of development. We salute Russia’s leadership of the G20, and using this platform to ensure that all points of view are heard.
With these few words, I would like to end by proposing a toast to the good health of H.E President Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation, to prosperity of the people and the government of the Russian Federation, and to the friendship between our nations.