The Prime Minister, Minister of Home Affairs, External Communications and National Development Unit, Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth held a press conference yesterday at the New Treasury Building in Port Louis. The aim was to give an overview of the outcomes of his recent missions in the People's Republic of China and France respectively. He also attended on 06 September 2018 the public hearings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands.
The Minister Mentor, Minister of Defence and Minister for Rodrigues, Sir Anerood Jugnauth, the Chairman and Leader of the Chagos Refugees Group, Mr Olivier Bancoult, and other Ministers were also present.
Prime Minister Jugnauth highlighted that he attended the 3rd Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing following an invitation from the President of the People's Republic of China, Mr Xi Jinping. He underscored that 53 African countries participated in the forum, which promotes inclusive development through South-South cooperation.
Major initiatives to be implemented by China, he observed, include green development, commerce facilitation, industrial promotion and technical support to African countries. He pointed out that as stated by President Xi Jinping, China has earmarked some 60 billion USD to implement the FOCAC action plan over the next three years, adding that propositions from Mauritius have been included in the Beijing declaration and FOCAC action plan.
Discussions between Prime Minister Jugnauth and President Xi Jinping focused on Mauritius-China cooperation as well as on matters affecting international trade. In this context, negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Mauritius and China, the first FTA between China and an African country, are under way, underlined the Prime Minister. Mauritius also made a request, which was agreed to, to export 50 000 tons of special sugars to the Chinese market.
The Prime Minister also had a working session with the Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, Mr Li Keqiang, during which Mauritius-China cooperation in different fields, including education, technology, artificial intelligence, and research and development were at the fore of discussions.
In France, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) invited the Prime Minister to deliver the opening speech at a blockchain conference on the theme "Blockchain for better policies". Prime Minister Jugnauth also had a tête-à-tête with the Secretary-General of the Organisation, during which discussions focused on reforms undertaken by Mauritius in the financial sector. An agreement was also signed with the OECD for technical assistance, through the Financial Services Commission of Mauritius.
The Prime Minister also met his French counterpart, Mr Edouard Philippe, and an agreement was signed between Airports of Mauritius, Airports of Rodrigues and Aéroport de Paris for assistance in airport development in Mauritius and Rodrigues. He also visited Qwant, a French company which uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) in several fields, in view of seeking their support and advice to implement AI in different sectors in Mauritius.
With regards to the Chagos issue, Prime Minister Jugnauth expressed satisfaction with the progress of the work at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). He thanked the African Union and all countries that participated in the oral presentations and which requested the Court to issue an advisory opinion. He further commended the Mauritian delegation for their hard work and reiterated his appeal to all Mauritians to remain united so that our decolonisation can be completed.
For his part, Sir Anerood Jugnauth stated that Mauritius participated in the public hearings with determination and that many countries have rallied to the Chagossian cause. He is now expecting a favourable opinion from the ICJ after the oral hearings in The Hague on the Chagos case, he added.
The Minister Mentor pointed out that in The Hague, the United Kingdom used mostly the same arguments presented to the United Nations and that they were supported by a handful of countries including the United States of America, Israel and Australia. He also recalled in what conditions independence was granted to Mauritius back in 1968.
The Chairman and Leader of the Chagos Refugees Group, Mr Bancoult, commended the Minister Mentor for his determination and emphasised that the public hearings of the ICJ mark a milestone moment in the long-lasting struggle of Chagossians against the disrespect of their rights to resettling on their native place.
He reaffirmed the full support of the Chagos community to Government's pursuit for the completion of the decolonisation process of Mauritius and excision of sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago.