Issues of common interest between Mauritius and Seychelles are being discussed at the 12th session of the Joint Commission meeting on bilateral cooperation at Senior Officials' level which opened today in Port Louis. The meeting is being held in the context of the forthcoming State Visit of the President of the Seychelles, Mr Danny Antoine Rollen Faure, to Mauritius later this week.
The Joint Commission meeting is co-chaired by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mrs Usha Dwarka Canabady, for the Mauritian side, and the Principal Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mrs Michelle Murray, for the Republic of Seychelles.
In her statement, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs said that Seychelles and Mauritius ties go back a very long way and both share the same views as regards the development of the region. The Joint Commission meeting will bring concrete results with the signature of five Memorandum of Understandings (education, health, prisons, twinning agreement, and investment) at the end of deliberations, she pointed out.
According to Ambassador Dwarka Canabady, Mauritius and Seychelles are two major countries in the Indian Ocean region sharing substantial maritime territory adding that the progress achieved on the extended continental shelf is in itself an example at the level of the United Nations for countries having overlapping territories. Even more important than that, she said, is the fact that we have to work together to see how to safeguard security and exploit the potential of our maritime territory, and in parallel, see how to protect the environment and ensure that development remains sustainable. Seychelles has put in a lot of efforts to ensure its sustainable development by protecting its biodiversity and this inspires Mauritius, said Mrs Dwarka Canabady.
For her part, the Principal Secretary for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Mrs Michelle Murray, recalled that there exists a political commitment between both countries to establish an ambitious working relationship and pursue cooperation exchanges given that Mauritius and Seychelles are two very determined Island States investing massively in human development.
Our discussions, she pointed out, will focus on the development of a working partnership for our common potential. This is due to the fact that we really have the capacity as two Island States in the Indian Ocean to ensure the advancement of the region as a zone of stability with prosperity and economic development that benefits all our people, she added.
The Joint Commission started in 1991 and meets every two years. Topics on the agenda of this 12th session include: a review of the status of the outcome of the 11th session of the Joint Commission between both countries; as well as bilateral issues spanning the sectors of the ocean economy, fisheries, agriculture, education, regional investment fund, extended continental shelf, and twinning agreements.
Regional related issues are also being discussed, namely: Indian Ocean Commission, Cooperation at the level of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite FTA, Accelerated Programme for Economic Integration, Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations and Small Island Developing States.