Seychelles and Australia in lockstep in defending interests of small island states, says diplomat
O'Shaughnessy (left) made the statement to the press after she paid a farewell visit to Seychelles' President, Wavel Ramkalawan, at State House on Tuesday. (Seychelles Nation)
The work to ensure that the vulnerability of small island states is recognised and supported by the international community is one of the greatest accomplishments of the outgoing Australian High Commissioner to Seychelles, Kate O'Shaughnessy.
O'Shaughnessy made the statement to the press after she paid a farewell visit to Seychelles' President, Wavel Ramkalawan, at State House on Tuesday.
She outlined that both Seychelles and Australia are in lockstep when it comes to defending the interest of small island states.
"Australia straddles both the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. We work closely with small island states in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean and we think that it is an issue that is poorly understood by the international community. It has been a real pleasure to work with Seychelles on this really important issue," said O'Shaughnessy.
The discussion also touched on the relations between the two islands, which O'Shaughnessy described as warm. Seychelles and Australia established diplomatic relations in 1976.
"We work very closely together in international organisations and I thanked the president for the principal position that Seychelles takes on many international issues. We finally talked about our shared commitment to combating the challenge of climate change. Australia has just had a general election and announced some new commitments to reduce our emissions and work towards net-zero by 2050," said the outgoing high commissioner.
She added that Australia is looking forward to working with Seychelles in international meetings like COP27, scheduled for later this year.
O'Shaughnessy also called on Vice President Ahmed Affif and talks were centred on the blue economy and maritime security.
"I have a colleague visiting Seychelles with me from our headquarters to particularly explore ways that we might be able to work together to combat illegal fishing in the western Indian Ocean," she said.
O'Shaughnessy served two years as the Australian High Commissioner to Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean. She was based in Mauritius from August 2020 and presented her credentials to Ramkalawan in October 2021 due to the COVID-19 border closure that was in place. Her tenure was shortened due to a family emergency.
She said that her successor can be expected to present her credentials in late August or in September "because Seychelles and Australia are co-hosting a search and rescue exercise towards the end of August so she will be looking forward to making her first visit then."