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Message of goodwill on queen's birthday

11 June 2010 |

June 11, 2010 -- Vice-President Joseph Belmont conveyed a message of goodwill to Queen Elizabeth II's birthday on behalf of President James Michel, the government and people of Seychelles.

Vice-President Joseph Belmont and British high commissioner Matthew Forbes spoke of the strong ties between Seychelles and the UK during a party on Wednesday to mark Queen Elizabeth II's birthday.

It was held at Mr Forbes' Bel Air home and attended by government ministers, chief of defence forces Brigadier Leopold Payet, members of the diplomatic corps, police commissioner Ernest Quatre, judges and top civil servants, among other guests.

Mr Belmont conveyed a message of goodwill to the Queen on behalf of President James Michel, the government and the people of Seychelles.

"Seychelles feels proud and privileged to be associated with this remarkable day, for historical reasons and, indeed, because of the strong ties of friendship that exist between our two countries," he said.

He said Queen Elizabeth has been at the helm during a long period of good relations between Seychelles and the United Kingdom, from the colonial days through to our independence.

"The UK's continued support to Seychelles has served to deepen the friendship and strengthen the good relations between our two countries," said Mr Belmont, reaffirming the government's commitment to sustain these strong bilateral ties.

He said Seychelles will continue to work closely with the British government in regional and international forums, and he proposed a toast to the good health and wellbeing of Queen Elizabeth II, and to the peace and prosperity of the people of the UK.

Mr Forbes said the Queen's birthday is celebrated by British embassies and high commissions around the world to mark her actual birthday in April or her official one in June.

This is a practice, he said, started by King Edward VII, whose real birthday fell on November 9 during the colder months but was marked again later during better weather; the Queen's father, King George VI, who was born in mid-December, did the same.

Mr Forbes highlighted the strong relationship between the UK and Seychelles and thanked friends and contacts who have helped to make the work of the high commission a success.

He said his first year in office here has been busy and interesting.

"Our countries have become more important to each other and our relationship more mature. But the UK and Seychelles have always been close whether it be through business, family, sporting or educational links," he said.

Mr Forbes congratulated Jean-Paul Adam on his appointment as Foreign Minister, noting that he studied in the UK. He and his diplomatic colleagues are looking forward to working closely with Mr Adam in the future, he added.

He said he is happy that Seychelles has reopened its high commission in London and is making a real effort to attract new British tourists and business to this country.

"Our joint purpose in the fight against piracy has also provided a real focus for the relationship," said Mr Forbes.

"Together with my colleague the French ambassador, we have worked hard to ensure the European Union can provide important assistance in this joint endeavour. Substantial support has already been provided and more is planned.

"I realise the real threat piracy poses to the economy and security of the Seychelles, and we will continue to work together to ensure the threat is contained, that international shipping can operate freely and that Seychelles can go about its business without having to worry about this threat from outside."

Mr Forbes said the UK's new Foreign Secretary has already contacted President Michel and assured him of the importance the UK attaches to its relationship with Seychelles.

He then wished Mr Belmont a happy and peaceful retirement and proposed a toast to the health and wellbeing of President Michel and the happiness and prosperity of all Seychellois.

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