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Home >> China
UPDATED: 08:25, August 01, 2006
Seychellois president-elect expects further economic co-op with China
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There is room for Seychelles and China to strengthen economic cooperation in various areas such as investment in tourism, fishing and oil exploration, Seychellois president-elect James Michel has said.

"Interest has been expressed and negotiation has taken place in every aspects of investment, and I am hoping that in the coming months these negotiations will come to concrete and fruitful results," said the president in an exclusive interview with Xinhua.

Two years after he succeeded former president France Albert Rene who stepped down in resignation, Michel was re-elected as leader of the Indian Ocean archipelago country for a further five- year term in the three-day polling from July 28 to 30.

He is scheduled to be inaugurated on August 1.

Michel also said that his government is in full support of China's peaceful reunification and he will be happy to see Taiwan return to the motherland.

"We will continue to be a supporter until the whole country achieves reunification," Michel said.

Michel said Seychelles and China have a "very special" relationship.

"We had long history of friendship and the cooperation has begun since our independence (in 1976)," the president-elect said.

He said China had been a partner to Seychelles for a long time in its development, and the country has benefited from the help from China, which is a friend to Seychelles.

He said China has the very potential to take the rightful place in the world affairs and China has a very important role to play as a balance to world power.

Having visited China for several times, Michel said he was happy to see the economic progress that China has made.

He said his fist visit to Guangzhou in southern China was in 1979, but when he visited the city again in 1997 he could not recognize the place at all.

"It was a pleasure to compare the progress China has made," he said, adding that China's success and progress would also help Seychelles in developing economy.

As to the foreign polices, Michel said his government would enforce participation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), two of the most important regional economic groupings.

In 2003, former president Rene announced withdrawal from SADC largely because of the annual 550,000 U.S. dollars payment required.

However, after his coming to power, Michel has decided to take the country back into SADC in order to boost trade and encourage foreign investment.

"We have very close cooperation with countries of the region, and I am looking forward to further consolidation of cooperation with other countries," the president-elect said.

"We will continue to maintain the stability of the country to ensure that Seychelles remains a very good place for people to come and invest so that these companies and Seychellois can benefit," he said.

Michel said he would continue the work that he had started in the last two years.

"I will continue to open up economy, bring about liberalization of trade and commerce and also encourage investment from abroad in the tourism, offshore and fishing industries which are pillars to the economy," the 62-year-old said.

Source: Xinhua

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