Oskar Benedikt presented his credentials to President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House on Tuesday. (State House)
The European Union (EU) plans to continue working with Seychelles in maritime security, climate change and tourism, the newly accredited EU ambassador to Mauritius and Seychelles.
Oskar Benedikt presented his credentials to President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House on Tuesday.
The EU is one of Seychelles’ main partners in the fields of political, economic, and trade as well as development cooperation. This also includes cooperating in maritime security, such as the fight against piracy, illegal drugs and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
The two partners also share important trade agreements, particularly in the fisheries sector.
“We also have our ongoing fisheries agreement and in that aspect, we have two important aspects. One is the protection of the seas, an environmental fund where we contribute to remove debris from the fishing industry from the island,” Benedikt told reporters.
He said the EU is also looking to work with the archipelago in the western Indian Ocean in the tourism sector as the EU “is a very important partner to the Seychelles in terms of tourists. Fifty percent of the tourists coming to Seychelles are from the EU.”
Benedikt added that the EU is “the number one trading partner, with a third of trade of Seychelles, and we have quite a lot of support with an important fisheries agreement. Most fish exports go to the EU and provide revenue to the Seychelles. I think we are an important partner and we would like to show our friendship.”
The new EU ambassador said he discussed the protection of the seas as well “as climate change is affecting us all, it doesn’t matter where you are, how big or small you are.”
Seychelles as a small island state is greatly affected by climate change in what Benedikt described as a chain reaction and “so we have to all work together to prevent as much as possible climate change.”
The ambassador will be co-chairing the 10th EU-Seychelles Political Dialogue with Seychelles’ Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Sylvestre Radegonde, later this week.
“We have a trade agreement which we want to deepen. We have an ongoing negotiation with Seychelles and four other countries – it’s a regional agreement, that we would like to conclude in not a too long future,” he said.
Benedikt who replaces Vincent Degert, will be based in Mauritius.
Also accredited on Tuesday was the new ambassador of the Czech Republic to Seychelles, Miroslav Kozek, who is seeking to continue building on the existing relationship between the two countries.
|The new ambassador of the Czech Republic to Seychelles, Miroslav Kozek, was also accredited. (State House) Photo License: CC-BY|
He said that a special emphasis will be placed on waste management.
Kozek also revealed that a business delegation from the Czech Republic will visit Seychelles in a couple of months to build on the bilateral relations that exist between the two countries.
“I had a good discussion with Mr. President, we were speaking about many things and building on the current relations that we have. The Czech Republic would also like to work with Seychelles on the waste management sector,” he said.
Tourism is also another area that the two countries plan to collaborate on and Kozek said “we want to bring Seychelles culture to Prague and Czech culture to Seychelles.”.
The two countries are also keen to collaborate where climate change is concerned.