Seychelles host Sri Lankan President on State Visit


(Posted 01st July 2013)

The ongoing State visit by Sri Lanka’s President Rajapaksa to the Seychelles has strengthened the cooperation already in place between the two Indian Ocean island countries.

Following a one on one meeting between the two presidents did the full delegations meet at State House Victoria, where a range of issues of mutual concern and interest were discussed, covering such topics as trade and investments, air links, cooperation in the banking sector, fisheries, maritime, defense, education, health, tourism, energy, legal affairs, piracy and small industries development.

Notably were aviation and tourism on the agenda, which follows in the footsteps of Alain St. Ange’s push to have Sri Lanka made a full member of the Indian Ocean’s Vanilla Island cooperation, which promotes travel to and between member islands besides concerted marketing efforts to showcase the destinations.

President James Alix Michel, in a media release received from Mahe, was quoted to have told his guests: ‘Your Excellency it is with immense pleasure that I welcome you and your delegation to Seychelles. Your visit here in Seychelles is a landmark of friendship and strong collaboration developing within our two countries. We have made remarkable progress in our bilateral cooperation in many areas such as in education and training, defence, trade, fisheries, health, judiciary and renewable energy. Your visit will undoubtedly consolidate our relations and progress achieved. There is no better way to celebrate the anniversary of the 25 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between our two Indian Ocean states’.

During the meeting, President Rajapaska confirmed that SriLankan Airlines are keen to start flights to Seychelles this year and that the details of these new airlinks will be further discussed in the near future. President James Michel reportedly warmly welcomed the decision, adding that the airlinks would boost trade and tourism between Sri Lanka and Seychelles. ‘The new flights will surely open doorways for business, tourism, cooperation and trade exchanges between Seychelles and Sri Lanka. Seychelles can become a gateway to Africa and other parts of the world. The airlinks will be a catalyst to ensure increased cooperation between our two countries’ was President Michel quoted to have said in response.

The two countries have a Visa waiver agreement in place, making travel for the nationals of the two island states easy. President Michel visited Sri Lanka last year and is expected to attend the CHOGM Summit later this year, where he is expected to further promote his agenda on the ‘blue economy’ and climate change, which is a particular threat to island nations as a result of rising sea levels. Watch this space for regular updates from the Seychelles.