Seychelles, Mauritius meet again to discuss Mascarene Plateau
The Mascarene Plateau, situated to the south-east of the Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone, is jointly managed by Seychelles and Mauritius, and the Northern Plateau Region to the west, a claim submitted by Seychelles to the UN. The Aldabra Region is being proposed for shared management between Tanzania and Seychelles. (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles and Mauritius are again meeting to discuss the joint management of the Mascarene Plateau, the underwater plateau that hosts both island nations, a news report said Wednesday.
The delegates are taking part in five days of discussions that will end Friday. The teams hope the talks will allow them to sign a deal on the jurisdiction of the area.
The delegation is expected to put in place a technical committee that will guarantee the sustainable development of the plateau, the Seychelles Nation newspaper reported Tuesday.
The teams are expected to discuss oil exploration and surveying licenses, environment protection, management of marine and scientific research and other legal procedures.
The Mascarene Plateau is a large shallow area ranging in depth from 8 metres to 150 metres in the Indian Ocean situated to the north and east of Madagascar. The shelf extends approximately 2,000 kilometers from the Seychelles in the north to Réunion Island in the south. It covers an area of over 115,000 square kilometers.
In March 2009, Seychelles and Mauritius made a proposition to the United Nations for the plateau’s shared management. The agreement provides for cooperation between the two coastal states in matters of environmental protection, exploration and marine resources management, including fisheries and hydrocarbons. The two sides had already agreed in previous meetings to share the resources in the zone on an equal basis.
The meetings will be followed by the assembly of the joint commission that will take place Saturday and subsequently a first ministerial council meeting.
The head of the Seychelles’ delegation -- who is also the co-chairman of the technical committee -- says that the teams are well engaged in the process of management of the areas resources and they are now finalizing the relevant documents to put to the attention of the joint commission, the Seychelles Nation reported.
The discussions on the Mascarene Plateau started in 2002. This is the 12th time that the two parties have met on the issue.
Mauritius wishes to finalize certain pending issues so that the project may start, the Seychelles Nation reported.
Seychelles and Mauritius remain amicable about the issue. In March 2012 Seychelles President James Michel and Mauritian Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam signed two treaties for the management of the area during the state visit of Michel to Mauritius.