The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Mr. Sylvestre Radegonde, and the Deputy Secretary of State of the United States of America, H.E Mr. Richard Verma, officially re-opened the US Embassy, marking a new chapter in the US-Seychelles relations.
This momentous occasion, witnessed by the President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan, and officials of the United States and Seychelles Government clearly demonstrates the mutual commitment of both countries to deepen their partnership and strengthen their bilateral relationships.
In his address, Minister Radegonde remarked that since the new Government came into office, the bonds between the two countries have been further strengthened. “While we may, from time to time, have a divergence of views on certain issues, that does not detract in any way from the strength of the partnership and the friendship that we have forged over the years. Our adherence to a number of principles and values that we hold in common is the bedrock of our relations,” added the Seychelles Minister.
He further expressed that “both Seychelles and the United States are firm defenders and proponents of democracy, human rights and the territorial integrity of states – values and principles enshrined in the UN Charter”. With the re-opening of the Embassy, Minister Radegonde pointed out that expectations are high, underlining a number of issues on their common agenda: “We hope that with a permanent US diplomatic presence in Seychelles, consular matters such as visa formalities for our nationals will be done and expedited in Victoria, rather than in Port Louis as is currently the case.”
Counting on the support of the US, Minister Radegonde also seized the opportunity to reiterate the importance for the adoption and implementation of a Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI). “The international system fully accepts that the peculiarities and vulnerabilities of SIDS are real. SIDS cannot continue to be assessed solely on GDP Per Capita. The MVI needs to be put in place and we count on the US to help SIDS in making this become a reality,” emphasized the Seychelles Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism.
On his part, the Deputy Secretary of State commented on the excellent cooperation that has existed between Seychelles and the US over the years, albeit the absence of a resident US Embassy. “The United States deeply values the relationship we maintained with Seychelles over that period on a host of critical shared priorities: democracy and human rights, protecting the environment and tackling the climate crisis, ensuring maritime security, and combatting the scourge of drug trafficking”. He placed particular emphasis on the excellent cooperation between Seychelles law enforcement and security agencies and financial institutions and the US Government agencies.
H.E. Mr. Richard Verma commended Seychelles for launching the world’s first sovereign blue bond and conveyed the US Government’s appreciation for Seychelles’ leadership on conservation and the Blue Economy, for joining the Ocean Conservation Pledge at COP27 to advance our shared goal of conserving or protecting 30 percent of the global ocean by 2030.
“The establishment of an Embassy is the next critical step to strengthen our partnership to advance common goals” remarked the Deputy Secretary of State, “The Embassy will allow Seychelles and the US to broaden cooperation and will remain a visible sign of the long-term US commitment to the Seychelles. And we look forward to building and growing our Embassy presence in Seychelles in the years ahead” he added.
The US Embassy, situated on the 2nd floor of the Oliaji Trade Centre in Victoria, will be headed by Mr. James Donegan as Chargé d ’Affaires ad interim until an Ambassador based in Seychelles is accredited. In the meantime, H.E Ambassador Henry Jardine based in Mauritius, remains the US Ambassador accredited to Seychelles.