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Seychelles - Foreign Relations

Seychelles follows a non-aligned foreign policy and aims to promote its reputation as a safe and secure tourist destination and a leader in environmental and conservation matters.

India signed a pact to build naval infrastructure in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Seychelles to counter growing Chinese influence in the region. Under the January 2018 agreement concluded with Seychelles, India would build an airstrip and a jetty for its navy on Assumption Island. The base will help firm up its presence in the Indian Ocean and extend the reach of India's navy by allowing it to rotate its ships and aircraft through the islands. "Relations with countries in the Indian Ocean Region and nurturing a climate of peace and stability are important cornerstones of India's foreign policy," Indian foreign secretary, Subramaniam Jaishankar said after sealing the pact, which was renegotiated on the basis of an earlier deal signed in 2015. India's quest for strategic bases overseas comes amid intensified worries about being encircled by an increasingly assertive China. While it remains an active member of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) which promotes economic co-operation between neighbouring islands in the area, Seychelles has curtailed some of its role in other regional organisations for financial reasons. It withdrew from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), citing the cost of membership fees and the lack of perceived benefits, but has since rejoined (2008), and temporarily lost its voting rights in the African Union because of unpaid membership dues.

In January 2006, the decision was announced to reopen the Seychelles Embassy in Brussels in the context of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). Seychelles has subsequently accredited Ambassadors/High Commissioners to China, South Africa, Italy and India.

Seychelles joined the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) in September 1997 when it acceded to the COMESA Treaty. The COMESA Treaty was subsequently ratified in March 1998. With its 19 Member States, COMESA has a population of over 389 million, an annual import bill of around US billion, and an export bill of US billion. Member states include: Burundi, Seychelles, D.R. Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Libya, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. COMESA’s strategies and objectives are outlined within the COMESA Medium Term Strategic Plan 2011 – 2015, through the following six priority areas: Removing Barriers to Factor Mobility, Building Productive Capacity for Global Competitiveness, Addressing Supply-Side Constraints Related to Infrastructure, Peace and Security, Cross Cutting Issues and Institutional strengthening.

Seychelles rejoined the Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) in November, after withdrawing in 2003. The IOR-ARC is a regional forum, tripartite in nature, bringing together representatives of Government, Business and Academia, for promoting co-operation and closer interaction among them.

The Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) is an intergovernmental organisation which groups the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comores and France/Reunion Island. It has as its main objective to promote sustainable development of its member states, which share a similar history, and culture, as well as common interests such as the changing environment.

Seychelles joined the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in September 1997 but withdrew in June 2003 due to financial and human resource constraints. On 17th August 2008 Seychelles re-joined SADC. The SADC vision is that of a common future, a future within a regional community that will ensure economic well-being, improvement of the standards of living and quality of life, freedom and social justice and peace and security for the peoples of Southern Africa.

Given the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean region, Seychelles has reached out to the international community for assistance and has significantly strengthened its ties with the United States, the UK, France, the EU, India, and China. The Government of Seychelles has entered into multiple agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with various international partners, including the United States, to protect its borders and its tourism and fishing-based economy, which is directly impacted by piracy in the region.

Russia, the United Kingdom, France, India, China, and Cuba maintain embassies in Victoria. Seychelles has an ambassador resident in New York, accredited to the United Nations and to the United States and Canada. It also has resident ambassadors in the United Kingdom, China, France, India, South Africa, the Vatican, and Belgium. In 2010, the Seychelles Government indicated its intent to open a new mission in Cuba.

Seychelles is a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Nonaligned Movement (NAM), the African Union (AU), the Commonwealth, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), La Francophonie (Association of francophone countries), and the UN and some of its specialized and related agencies. The European Union has concluded an interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the Eastern and Southern African region, including Seychelles. Seychelles is also a member of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) group and is closely aligned with SIDS on issues related to climate change and global warming.

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Page last modified: 04-02-2018 19:15:31 ZULU