Seychelles welcomes first Fijian ambassador
Fiji's first ambassador to Seychelles, Ravindran R. Nair (Mervyn Marie, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles President James Michel has welcomed the decision of the Republic of Fiji to establish closer ties with Seychelles.
Michel made these remarks after accepting the credentials of the very first ambassador of Fiji to Seychelles, Ravindran R. Nair, at State House this morning.
According to a press release issued by State House, President Michel said that the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles had much in common with the South Pacific group of islands known as Fiji.
"We are members of the same family of small island states and it is important for us to work together, especially in the promotion of the blue economy in the world development agenda," said Michel during the meeting.
In a press interview after the accreditation ceremony, Ambassador Nair said that Fiji and Seychelles had the potential to build an excellent partnership.
"We have a lot in common and as there is a meeting coming up of small island developing states in Samoa, we are going to discuss more of our commonalities; we want to have a voice in the international sphere, so that they recognize our distinct needs and requirements,” said the Fijian ambassador.
“So putting the island countries together as one voice and having a forum, having space for our voice, is very important. And that is why I am here, to share the friendship and the kinship that we have with the Seychelles. My President and my Prime Minister are very keen for us to develop this relationship further.”
Fiji, which can be found two thousand kilometres north-east of New Zealand, is an archipelago comprised of more than 332 islands, of which 110 are permanently inhabited. The two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87 percent of the population of almost 860,000.
Fiji also has one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island region due to an abundance of natural resources. In modern times, the main sources of its foreign exchange are from tourism and sugar exports.
|Ambassador Ravindran R. Nair had talks with president Michel after presenting his credentials (Mervyn Marie, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: Attribution|
Tourism is one of the common areas where cooperation can be fostered, and according to Ambassador Nair, sharing experiences is not the only way that Fiji and Seychelles could benefit. The Ambassador noted that Seychelles relies on foreign workers in its hospitality industry as the country has a small population and limited resources in employment, and he is keen to supply Seychelles with Fijian workers for the industry, saying his people have a “natural flair” for making tourists feel at home.
He added that since both countries’ education systems are based on the British model, opportunities also existed to send qualified Fijian teachers to Seychelles in times of shortage.
Ambassador Nair is based in the regional Fijian embassy of Abu Dhabi, which opened in 2012.
Currently Fiji has 15 embassies and high commissions around the world.
Fiji will be holding its first democratic parliamentary elections in September this year.
Fiji has been suspended from the Commonwealth since September 2009, after the organisation demanded Fiji reestablish democracy and hold elections in 2010.
Fiji has been under military rule since the 2006 coup d'état by military commander Commodore Frank Bainimarama and other military officers .