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Seychelles will not take sides in any conflict, says foreign minister

Victoria, Seychelles | February 24, 2024, Saturday @ 14:42 in National » DIPLOMACY | By: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 6059
Seychelles will not take sides in any conflict, says foreign minister

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, at the diplomatic cocktail (Foreign Affairs Department)

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(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles remains a country that will always advocate for peace and prosperity in the world, and will not take sides in any conflict, according to the foreign affairs and tourism minister, Sylvestre Radegonde.

He said in an interview with the media on Friday during the annual diplomatic cocktail at the Laila Resort, Anse Royale, that “Seychelles today, has not changed its position and remains a non-aligned country.”

The cocktail was attended by President Wavel Ramkalawan, along with various ambassadors and high commissioners currently residing in Seychelles, as well as ministers, principal secretaries, members of the National Assembly and other guests.

The foreign affairs minister addressed the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian Territory of Gaza, saying; “the Hamas attacks in Israel should not have happened and we are against it, but when the punishment is given out for that attack, you cannot make everyone bear the consequences.”

“We unequivocally condemned the horrific attacks carried out by Hamas on Israeli civilians on October 7th and join the call for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages still being held. We will continue to condemn the indiscriminate use of force by Israel in Gaza and implore them to show restraint for the sake of saving the lives of innocent Palestinian civilians. The grave humanitarian disaster demands an immediate ceasefire,” added Radegonde.

He pointed out that Seychelles supports the two-state solution as “the only viable way to achieving lasting peace in the Middle East.”

On the issue of maritime security, Radegoonde said that “Seychelles cannot ignore the dangerous and disruptive attacks by the Houthis in the Red Sea and must assume the shared responsibility for protecting our region with committed partners. We cannot subscribe to upholding the rule of law and shy away from its violation in areas of direct interest to us. With our modest means and existing commitment to the Combined Maritime Forces, our limited involvement in Operation Prosperity Guardian demonstrates that we deplore violations of international law and reaffirm our willingness to follow through on our maritime security interests.”

The diplomatic cocktail was hosted under the theme “Leveraging diplomacy to address emerging challenges”, where Minister Radegonde also spoke of Seychelles’ non-aligned status, saying that Seychelles navigates the international arena with a principled commitment to independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, even when its perspectives “may diverge from those of our international partners and at times in the face of external pressures.”

He added that Seychelles firmly upholds the principle of voicing its positions with respect and assertiveness, standing firm on matters of principle or disagreement while preserving the integrity of its diplomatic relations.

Speaking of the climate crisis, the minister stated that 2024 will be a crucial year, as Seychelles the implementation of commitments agreed from COP28 begins under the stewardship of the UAE.

“It will take our joint effort to make economy-wide cuts to emissions, phase out fossil fuels, scale up renewable energy transition, grow and operationalise the Loss and Damage Fund, meet our climate adaptation targets, combat pollution, protect our ecosystems and much more,” he explained.

Minister Radegonde and the Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Francesca Alexandra Azaïs, sharing a toast (Seychelles Nation) Photo license: All Rights Reserved 

On behalf of her colleagues, the Ambassador of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Francesca Alexandra Azaïs, who is currently the dean of the diplomatic corps, share her happiness that despite the disasters the country had to face recently - referring to explosions at a quarrying company at Cascade and the Providence Industrial Estate, and flooding in the north of Mahe - the economy is growing and tourism is booming. 

“The respect for human rights, the foreign policy inspired by mutual respect and neutrality towards all our friends is a sign of political maturity and moral values,” said Azaïs. 

She added, “I would like to take this opportunity to forward my heartfelt thanks to the Minister, PS [principal secretary] Fock Tave, the Protocol and the whole staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Tourism for their outstanding support, always being there to help us and facilitate our projects and to encourage cooperation for the well-being of the Seychelles people.” 

After a toast to celebrate friendship and continued collaboration, the evening continued with guests enjoying some light entertainment. 

 

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Tags: Foreign Affairs, tourism, Israel, Gaza, maritime security, non-aligned

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