The visit to Vietnam by President James Michel and his delegation last week has been described as historic. It saw the two countries agree to build a stronger partnership and cooperation based on mutual respect and benefit.
Mr Michel held talks with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang as top officials from both countries met during the trip, which saw five agreements signed.
Among those in the Seychelles team was Foreign Affairs Minister Jean Paul Adam who later said the government’s strategy to develop strong ties with Asia -- including Vietnam -- will bring many benefits to this country.
The five agreements signed included one between the ministries of foreign affairs of the two countries and another covering air transport.
The Mayor of Victoria Jacqueline Moustache-Belle signed one between her town and Hanoi while the two nations’ chambers of commerce and industry signed another.
Mr Adam said the visit helped create a framework to build a stronger partnership.
Following is a full statement issued by the two countries:
1. 1. At the invitation of the President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam Truong Tan Sang, the President of the Republic of Seychelles James Alix Michel, undertook an official visit to the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam from 28th to 29th August 2013. This was the second official visit undertaken by a Seychellois Head of State to Viet Nam in 33 years. President Michel led a high-level delegation comprising of senior government officials and representatives from the business community.
2. During their meeting, the two Presidents acknowledged the “true and sincere friendship” that exists between the two countries. They reaffirmed their commitment to opening a new phase of bilateral relations between Vietnam and Seychelles based on a common vision, shared values, mutual respect, and common goals and interests. To this end, they expressed their willingness to further strengthen government, commercial and people-to-people linkages, and to further facilitate the movement of persons and goods between the two countries. Both Presidents also reconfirmed their wish to see a Vietnamese Ambassador accredited to Seychelles.
3. The two leaders agreed that more frequent high level exchanges will bring added impetus to both the political friendship and economic, social and cultural partnership developing between the two countries.
The two leaders also stressed the great importance of the meetings held during this official visit with the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the Communist Party and the Prime Minister as new avenues of cooperation between the main institutions of the two countries were then successfully explored.
4. They discussed the various frameworks that the two countries have established over the years to consolidate their ties of cooperation which include the Technical Assistance Agreement which was signed in 1986 and the Economic, Cultural, Scientific and Technical Cooperation Agreement signed in August 2010. They agreed to work towards creating new partnerships between the two countries in areas including political and diplomatic relations, trade and investment, civil aviation, education and training, renewable energy and environment, agriculture, fisheries, oil exploration, culture, sports, and tourism.
President Michel congratulated Viet Nam for the high and steady growth achieved over the last decade and for the successful extensive reforms accomplished which have made Viet Nam one of the emerging economies in the 'South'. President Truong Tan Sang praised Seychelles for the great accomplishments in socio-economic development in the recent years as well as Seychelles’ significant contribution to peace and stability in the Southern African Development Community region in particular and Africa at large.
6. The two leaders welcomed the signing of the following agreements:
a.) MoU between the Seychelles Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs;
b.) Bilateral Air Services Agreement between the Civil Aviation Authority of Viet Nam and Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority;
c.) Twinning MoU between Victoria and Hanoi;
d.) MoU between Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI);
e.) MoU between Seychelles Tourism Academy and Hanoi Tourism College.
7. The two leaders also discussed Seychelles and Viet Nam's growing trade and investment relationship and agreed that an expanded and balanced trade relationship would benefit both nations. The signing of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement in October 2005 and the signing of the MoU between the two chambers of commerce during this official visit were seen as important frameworks to increase trade and investment linkages between the two countries in such fields as tourism, oil exploration, renewable energy, agriculture and infrastructure.
The two leaders also supported the recommendations of the Seychelles-Viet Nam business forum jointly organised by the VCCI and the SCCI with the support of the Seychelles embassy and Seychelles Investment Board, which called for more exchanges between the two business communities.
8. The two leaders welcomed the establishment of a regular dialogue and consultations between their two foreign ministries.
9. Discussions between the two leaders also centred on the potential of developing cooperation between the two countries in the defence and security sector. They agreed to expand mutually beneficial cooperation to enhance capabilities and sharing of experience in maritime law enforcement and combating various transnational crimes including piracy and drug trafficking.
10. The two leaders noted their countries' constructive cooperation in various international forums and discussed various international issues of mutual interest. They had an in-depth exchange of views on the green and blue economy as a tool for sustainable development and on measures that could be taken both bilaterally and multilaterally to increase their resilience to climate change and enhance food securitythrough the promotion of clean energy, energy efficiency, and sustainable development. Both Presidents acknowledged that in the “Century of the Sea” there are many experiences to be shared between the two maritime nations in ensuring the sustainability of ocean resources.
11. The two leaders recognised that one of the greatest strengths in the Viet Nam-Seychelles relationship lies in their common will to promote and protect the French language. The two leaders therefore renewed their commitment in developing joint partnerships with the aim of promoting more effectively the French language in their respective countries.
The two leaders noted their countries’ constructive cooperation across the international fora such as the United Nations and La Francophonie. They also agreed to deepen the collaboration between the two countries in those international organisations.
The President of Seychelles reiterated the strong commitment of Seychelles to work in close collaboration with the ASEAN community in order to develop win-win partnerships in various sectors of mutual interest.
President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam Truong Tan Sang thanked President James Alix Michel, President of the Republic of Seychelles for Seychellois Government’s recognition of the full market-economy status of Viet Nam and noted that this decision was a great contribution to the relationship of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.
President Michel thanked Mr Truong Tan Sang, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, for the warm hospitality extended to him and the accompanying delegation. The President conveyed his hope that he can also welcome President Truong Tan Sang for a state visit to Seychelles in the very near future.
Picture shows President Michel with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang in Hanoi.