The world can learn from Sri Lanka’s leadership on how to foster an environment of peace in a post- conflict situation, the Seychelles President James Alix Michel said.
"Sri Lanka’s achievements in this respect were truly remarkable,' he said delivering a lecture at the Lakshman Kadiragamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies on ‘The Role of Small Island States in the Global Tapestry’ on Tuesday.
“There are yet challenges, but Sri Lanka’s rapid emergence as an economic success illustrates the importance of leadership to bring stability and progress,” he said. President Michel was Speaking on sea piracy, President Michel said this was hurting global trade and added that Seychelles looks to Sri Lanka as a partner in efforts to ensure Indian Ocean remains a space for peace and development and not a zone of anarchy.
"Sri Lanka's years of experience in combating terrorism are invaluable in relation to strengthening our ability to keep our Oceans safe for the development of our people," he said.
The President of the Seychelles said his country looks forward to a partnership with Sri Lanka in enhancing trade, development of fisheries and tourism and the protection of the environment.
Describing his first visit to Sri Lanka, President Michel said it was symbolic on how islands should work together and develop synergies to complement and support each others' development in an extremely volatile global economic environment.
He said island nations of the Indian Ocean could be the key connections between continents and added that together Sri Lanka and Seychelles can create new space for both countries' prosperity.
President Michel said the Indian Oceans island nations should get together to draw the attention of the world to the potentials of the blue economy which he said would expand opportunities in many ways both to the benefit of countries concerned and the world in general. Speaking on maritime trade, the President said both countries should encourage its entrepreneurs to create a maritime trade network. President Michel said the ocean should be viewed as a space of resource and environmental protection. He said that island nations were the guardians of the ocean and among them they possessed half of the world's marine bio-diversity, 10 of the world's coral hot spots 10 out of 34 of the richest areas of bio-diversity in the world. President Michel also praised Sri Lanka's ability to build its own vessels and said this has empowered the local fishing industry. He said that Seychelles is one of the smallest countries with a population of only 85,000 and said in comparison, Sri Lanka was much bigger and added both countries share a common vision for development.
"Just because our countries are small, we must not think small. Our partnership with Sri Lanka in connecting islands is an example of like minded nations standing together to provide leadership at a global level," President Michel said.
He said today many island nations were showcasing global leadership and rapid progress.