Visa formalities for Seychellois citizens traveling to the United States are set to be completed and expedited in Seychelles rather than Mauritius with the opening of a US embassy in the capital, Victoria, on Thursday.
The statement was made by Seychelles Foreign Minister Sylvestre Radegonde in his address at the opening of the embassy located in the Oliaji shopping mall.
“With the reopening of the U.S. Embassy in Victoria, expectations are high. And rightly so! We have a number of issues on our common agenda,” said Mr. Radegonde.
An American embassy opened in Seychelles in 1976, on its independence day, but was closed in 1996.
Mr. Radegonde had the honor of cutting the symbolic ribbon alongside the US Under Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Richard Verma, for the official opening of the embassy.
Present at the ceremony were Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan, as well as Vice President Ahmed Afif and other ambassadors, ministers, senior officials and diplomats.
“As we look to the future, I am confident that our partnership and friendship will continue to flourish. We will work together to promote economic growth and development, address climate challenges and protect the environment, maritime safety and ensure peace and security in the region and beyond,” said Radegonde.
He added: “We believe that by working together, we can achieve great things and make a positive difference in the world. This has not stopped the two countries from working together in various areas, such as maritime safety, democracy and human rights. ”
Mr. Verma said that “the creation of an embassy is the next crucial step in strengthening our partnership to advance common goals, and while we continue to benefit from Ambassador Jardine’s leadership, today’s opening will allow us to begin the process towards a full-time dedicated Resident Ambassador position in Seychelles.”
He added that the opening of this embassy will enable the two countries to expand their cooperation and will remain a visible sign of the United States’ long-term commitment to Seychelles.
The two nations have cooperated in various areas in recent years, such as the signing of a bilateral agreement on combating illegal transnational maritime activities in July 2021, while the two nations have worked together on the climate crisis and drug trafficking, among other issues.
Jim Donegan will be Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Seychelles and Henry Jardine remains Ambassador to Seychelles and Mauritius, based in Port Louis, Mauritius.