State House

Annual Retreat Of Seychelles Ambassadors Opening Remarks By President James A Michel 3rd August 2012

Mon, 06 August 2012

Minister of Foreign Affairs,

Your annual retreat is now firmly established as an important component of our policy of pro-active diplomacy. And this year’s theme “Seychelles Proactive Diplomacy making a difference” bears testimony to this.

In meeting you today, I want to express my gratitude for the work you are doing, with competence and talent, sometimes in very difficult conditions. It does honour to our country.

All of us present here have great ambitions for our country and our region, and its natural place at the heart of an efficient and just multilateral system.

But it would be naïve to pretend that we live in a just multilateral system. We have made great strides but many inequalities remain. Many iniquities perdure. Humanity remains confronted with poverty, wars, conflicts, poverty, disease, injustice …We have become so blasé towards them, so inured to them, that more often than not they merit just a passing mention in the international media.

Yet, we can make a difference. This small nation of ours, whose flag bearers you are, can make a difference. We have values that we can share with and impart to the rest of the world. These values are solidly anchored in our abiding faith in the inherent goodness of humanity. If we can rise above our differences. If we are to bequeath this world as a better place to our children and to our grandchildren. If we are to stop the spoliation of our natural heritage. If we can sow and harvest the seeds of peace and justice.

These are values which are sacred to us. Values which bind us as a nation. Values which you promote and defend ceaselessly as envoys of Seychelles.

It would be presumptuous, though – indeed naïve – to imagine that we can change the world. No, we cannot change the world. No single country can do it. But we, as a nation, can certainly make a difference. Our diplomacy, pro-active, open, transparent and with no hidden agenda, can make the difference.
It can make the difference in being the voice of small island developing states striving for survival in a global arena which is in pursuit of its own selfish agenda.

It can be the voice of those denied the inheritance of their natural heritage.
It can be, and must remain, at the forefront of the strife to protect our planet from self-destruction.
It is an advocate for peace. And it can be a peace-broker.

We can do it. And we are doing it. We are leading by example.
Ours is a strong democracy, built on national unity, patriotism, social harmony and shared values. We are a country of the African region comprising a diversity of people from various origins, a small island developing nation of the Indian Ocean, and we have good relations with all members of the United Nations.

In order to pursue those interests and values we need to strengthen our alliances with regional and traditional partners while simultaneously developing new ties and playing a proactive role regionally and internationally.

The international debate is extremely clear. The threats we face today – piracy, climate change, the global economic meltdown etc. – know no borders; changes in the environment and in the world economy affect our everyday lives.  
Guided by our values, our foreign policy must be based on a clear vision of the world and of the interests we promote and defend.
Our foreign policy is a reflection of our identity as a nation. If we go wrong in our foreign policy, we dishonour the Seychellois people.

We must therefore remain pragmatic and realistic in our expectations and ambitions; we must continuously strive to fully take advantage of the potential that exists for Seychelles.

However let not size be a deterrent to our ambitions but let us continue to be bold and innovative in the international arena.
This is why I strongly believe that the time has come for Seychelles to present its candidature for the United Nations Security Council for the term 2017-2018, subject to the approval of the African Union.

With the ever pressing need to address today’s challenges such as piracy, peace and security, climate change, Seychelles has much to contribute to the daily work of one of the key organs of the United Nations, mandated to take decisions to address such challenges.

We can bring a unique perspective to the work of the Security Council. We have demonstrated our readiness for this seat by playing a leading role in the fight against piracy and for the advancement of peace and stability in Somalia. More recently, our mediation efforts in resolving the crisis in Madagascar have been internationally recognized by our partners. And we shall continue to provide the leadership and the support that are required in this process.

In addition, the leadership role we have played in the advocacy for small island states and the protection of the environment has established firmly our credibility.

Seychelles counts on the mobilization of all its Ambassadors to ensure the success of our bid for a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.

These are but some of the challenges that you face. I know that you are up to them. I know that you shall not fail us.
Once again I want to thank you for the good work accomplished in your respective missions. I thank you for the excellent work you are doing for the New Seychelles.

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