Given the shared priorities and objectives, there is immense scope for collaboration between Sri Lanka and the Seychelles, and there is every reason for satisfaction with the accomplishments on the ground during the last few months, President James Alix Michel of the Seychelles said.
He was having a discussion at the Presidentís Office in the Seychelles when Professor G.L.Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, called on him during the Ministerís official visit to the Seychelles.
President Michel, who appreciated Sri Lankaís active role within the Indian Ocean Regional Association for Co-operation (IORAC), welcomed Sri Lankaís plans to join the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). These structures, he observed, would serve to provide an effective framework for more intensive co-operation between the two countries with regard to such matters as the control of piracy and the exploitation of ocean resources without environmental damage.
President Michel laid particular stress on airline connectivity as an aid to both tourism and trade. An agreement is to be signed between the two countries in this regard next month. Prof. Peiris said that this would be of interest to Sri Lanka, especially because of the access it provides to East and Southern Africa at a time when the country is paying greater attention to its relations with this region.
On the subject of tourism, President Michel commented on the scope for co-operation between Sri Lanka and the Seychelles with regard to smaller cruise ships sailing among Islands in the Indian Ocean-- an activity for which there is today substantial demand. Health tourism and eco-tourism were also identified as priority areas.
President Michel welcomed with enthusiasm the initiatives, already in progress, in respect of action in the education and energy sectors. He said that the Seychelles would like to facilitate investment from Sri Lanka into the hospital and hydro-power areas. Sri Lankan inputs into the Marine Training Institute of the Seychelles would be of great value, he said. He expressed satisfaction regarding current plans for co-operation in the banking sector.
Minister Peiris had separate discussions with Mr. Danny Faure, Vice-President of the Seychelles, and Ms. MacSuzy Mondon, Minister for Education. He participated in a symposium on Public-Private Partnerships, which was attended by Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Seychelles.