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Learning from the 'El Hierro model': Spain is keen on sharing renewable energy advances with Seychelles

Victoria, Seychelles | June 17, 2015, Wednesday @ 10:29 in National » DIPLOMACY | By: Sharon Uranie | Views: 3960
Learning from the 'El Hierro model': Spain is keen on sharing renewable energy advances with Seychelles

The outgoing Spanish Ambassador to Seychelles Miguel Fernàndez-Palacios ocus of his mandate has been the fight against piracy, exchanges in the renewable energy sector and investment in tourism. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The fight against piracy, exchanges in the renewable energy sector and investment in tourism have been the main focus of the outgoing Spanish Ambassador to Seychelles during his tenure.

Ambassador Miguel Fernàndez-Palacios made this remark in a press interview at State House in the Seychelles Capital of Victoria, on Tuesday morning.

This was after he had paid a farewell call on the Seychelles President James Michel at the end of three and a half years spent representing Spain in the Indian Ocean island nation.

The meeting was an opportunity for them to discuss existing relations between the two countries and explore areas of future collaboration. 

Investment in the tourism sector including in hotels, Spain’s involvement in the fight against piracy in the region, the country’s desire to share its expertise in the renewable energy sector with Seychelles, fisheries and climate change were some of the areas they touched on.

Spain is very committed in the fight against piracy. We are commanding now for the fifth time the Atalanta mission, the European Union Mission against piracy off the coast of Somalia and so we spoke about the joint efforts between Seychelles and Spain in the fight against piracy,” said Fernàndez-Palacios.

With regards to renewable energy, the ambassador noted that this is an area where cooperation will be further strengthened even after his departure. A Spanish delegation is expected in Seychelles later this year, to share expertise with Seychelles.

This will be a follow-up of the visit of a Seychelles delegation to the Spanish island of El Hierro in December last year. The visit undertaken by a three-member delegation led by the Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Public Utilities Corporation (PUC) was aimed at gathering valuable insight on energy diversification, using renewable energy resources being developed on this most remote of Spain's Canary islands and see what can be adapted for Seychelles.

El Hierro is aiming to become the first island in the world to be energy self-sufficient.

Ambassador Miguel Fernàndez-Palacios discussing with President James Michel at State House on Tuesday. (Patrick Joubert, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY

Another important area of cooperation between Seychelles and Spain is fisheries, with many Spanish fishing vessels operating within the Seychelles' exclusive economic zone.

Actually Ambassador Fernàndez-Palacios told the local media that the Indian Ocean island nation’s Port of Victoria is considered Spain’s first Tuna fishing port and second largest fisheries port.

“…We have nowadays what we call national interests it means Spanish flagged or Seychellois flagged with Spanish property that means 35 Spanish vessels are in the Port. We have wonderful cooperation with Seychelles authority. The presence of these vessels is very important also for the economy of the country. And you know that in the last years with all these problem of piracy the number of vessels decreased but now they are increasing again…”

In a press statement released Tuesday afternoon, State House said President Michel has thanked Ambassador Fernàndez-Palacios for his "personal engagement" and for helping to further consolidate "an already excellent relationship" between the two countries. 

The outgoing Spanish Ambassador to Seychelles was based in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

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Tags: Spain, President James Michel, Ambassador Miguel Fernàndez-Palacios

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