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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  2. <rss version="2.0">
  3. <channel>
  4. <title>Seychelles News Agency</title>
  5. <link></link>
  6. <description>Real time news provider in English that informs its readers about the latest Seychelles news.</description>
  7. <language>en</language>
  8. <copyright>2024 Seychelles News Agency</copyright>
  11. <item>
  12. <title>Zelensky seeks internationally agreed peace plan to present to Russia</title>
  13. <link></link>
  14. <guid>20735</guid>
  15. <category>General</category>
  16. <pubDate>Sun, 16 Jun 2024 11:41:34 +0200</pubDate>
  17. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  18. <description><![CDATA[<p>As world leaders lined up to offer their support at summit for peace in Ukraine Saturday, President Volodymyr Zelensky voiced hope of garnering international agreement around a proposal to end the war that he could present to Moscow.</p>
  19. <p>More than two years after Russia invaded, leaders and senior officials from more than 90 states gathered in a Swiss mountainside resort for a two-day summit dedicated to Kyiv's plan to end the largest European conflict since World War II.</p>
  20. <p>Most voiced strong support for Ukraine, demanding a "just peace".</p>
  21. <p>Others, however, criticised Moscow's exclusion and warned Kyiv it would need to compromise if it wanted to end the war.</p>
  22. <p>In his opening remarks, Zelensky told the assembly: "We must decide together what a just peace means for the world and how it can be achieved in a lasting way.</p>
  23. <p>"Then it will be communicated to the representatives of Russia, so that at the second peace summit we can fix the real end of the war."</p>
  24. <p>Kyiv has previously said Russia would be invited to a second summit -- a position many countries backed Saturday.</p>
  25. <p>- '<strong>Capitulation</strong>' -</p>
  26. <p>The summit comes as Ukraine is struggling on the battlefield, where it is outmanned and outgunned.</p>
  27. <p>On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded Ukraine's effectively surrender if it wanted to even begin peace talks.</p>
  28. <p>Putin's call for Ukraine to withdraw from the south and east of the country -- already rejected by Zelensky as an "ultimatum" -- were widely dismissed.</p>
  29. <p>"He is not calling for negotiations, he is calling for surrender," US Vice President Kamala Harris said.</p>
  30. <p>"All us are committed to build a sustainable peace... Such a peace cannot be a Ukrainian capitulation," French President Macron said.</p>
  31. <p>"There is one aggressor and a victim," he added.</p>
  32. <p>German Chancellor Olaf Scholz warned that any ceasefire without "serious negotiations with a roadmap towards a lasting peace... would only legitimise Russia's illegal land grab".</p>
  33. <p>EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen took a similar line, arguing: "Freezing the conflict today with foreign troops occupying Ukrainian land is not an answer.</p>
  34. <p>"In fact, it is a recipe for future wars of aggression."</p>
  35. <p>- '<strong>Difficult compromise' -</strong></p>
  36. <p>It was a more mixed message, however, from outside Ukraine's traditional circle of backers.</p>
  37. <p>Saudi Arabia, an energy ally of Russia, told Kyiv it would have to make a "difficult compromise" if it wanted to end the conflict.</p>
  38. <p>"And here it is essential to emphasise that any credible process will need Russia's participation," Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said.</p>
  39. <p>China, which struck a "no-limits" strategic partnership with Moscow days before the February 2022 invasion, did not send a delegation to the conference in protest at Russia's exclusion.</p>
  40. <p>And Kenya's President William Ruto criticised the latest Western measures against Russia, this week's G7 deal to offer a $50-billion loan to Ukraine secured against profits of frozen Russian assets.</p>
  41. <p>"Just as Russia's invasion of Ukraine was unlawful and unacceptable, the unilateral appropriation of Russian assets is equally unlawful," Ruto said.</p>
  42. <p>The range of positions on display hints at the difficulty Kyiv faces in securing agreement for any settlement that it would be happy to send to Russia.</p>
  43. <p>Turkey, a potential mediator, issued a stark assessment of the need for action, warning the war risked spilling outside Ukraine or ending in the use of nuclear weapons.</p>
  44. <p>"This conference ... might be the last exit before the bridge," Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan cautioned.</p>
  45. <p>- <strong>Gaza comparisons -</strong></p>
  46. <p>Attendees at Saturday's summit were wrangling over a possible final joint declaration, according to sources close to the discussions cited by Swiss public news agency Keystone-ATS.</p>
  47. <p>Kyiv has insisted that terms like "Russian aggression" and references to its "territorial integrity" appear in any joint communique. It was not clear, however, if more than 90 countries could get behind such wording.</p>
  48. <p>And as Zelensky lent heavily on the UN Charter and international law to criticise Russia's invasion, some world leaders drew parallels with the Israel-Hamas war.</p>
  49. <p>"Only the respect of international law and human rights can guarantee peace. The same applies to the conflict in Gaza," said Chile's President Gabriel Boric.</p>
  50. <p>Zelensky did not say whether he was prepared to engage with Putin directly in talks to end the conflict, though he has in the past ruled out direct talks with him.</p>
  51. <p>On Sunday, delegates will focus on three areas: nuclear safety, freedom of navigation and food security, and humanitarian issues.</p>
  52. <p>That includes prisoners of war and the issue of Ukrainian children taken to Russia or Russian-controlled parts of Ukraine.</p>
  53. <p>G7 leaders this week agreed its $50-billion loan for Ukraine, and Kyiv also inked a 10-year security agreement with Washington for military aid and training.</p>
  54. <p>On Friday, the European Union's 27 member states agreed "in principle" on beginning accession negotiations with Ukraine.</p>
  55. <p>© Agence France-Presse</p>]]></description>
  56. </item>
  58. <item>
  59. <title>&quot;Creole Rendez-Vous&quot; brings delicacies and delights to Seychelles' Praslin island</title>
  60. <link></link>
  61. <guid>20701</guid>
  62. <category>Arts &amp; Culture</category>
  63. <pubDate>Sun, 16 Jun 2024 08:37:18 +0200</pubDate>
  64. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  65. <description><![CDATA[<p class="p">Visitors to Seychelles and locals had the chance during the weekend to appreciate the Creole culture during a cultural tourism event called the "Rendez-Vous Praslinois" on Praslin, the second most populated island.</p>
  66. <p class="p">The initiative, called "Creole Rendez-Vous, that was launched by the Department of Tourism last year, is also held on La Digue Island to give the local community a place to market and sell their locally made products.</p>
  67. <p class="p">Artisans and entrepreneurs on Praslin mounted their stalls all around the Berjaya Praslin Beach Hotel's beachfront area while various local handicrafts, drinks and dishes were also on sale.</p>
  68. <p class="p">Bernadette Sofola, a well-known entrepreneur from Anse Kerlan, in the district of Grand Anse, showcased her products in her stall that day. "Kot Dadette" - the name of her business, produces an assortment of jams made with various fruits, coconut nougat (coconut fudge), cassava cake, pickles and curry powder.</p>
  69. <p class="p">"I acquired these skills from my great grandparents so I decided to put into practice what I have learned," she said.</p>
  70. <table style="height: 64px;" width="622">
  71. <tbody>
  72. <tr>
  73. <td><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" /></td>
  74. </tr>
  75. <tr>
  76. <td>Bernadette Sofola, a well-known entrepreneur from Anse Kerlan, in the district of Grand Anse. (Mandy Bertin) Photo License: <a href="">CC-BY</a>  </td>
  77. </tr>
  78. </tbody>
  79. </table>
  80. <p class="p">Mikaela Marie, owner of Chaquell tailoring, sold her locally-made products but decided not to stick to only tailoring but to venture into another avenue.</p>
  81. <p class="p">For the past two years, the young artisan has been working with resin, a semi-solid natural and synthetic compound that can be hardened into a durable plastic material.</p>
  82. <p class="p">She uses resin to make a selection of jewellery items such as necklaces and earrings and the main attraction at her stall was the handbag she has sewn with the map of Praslin on it.</p>
  83. <p class="p">There were also various stalls selling scrumptious dishes such as the fruit bat curry, cooked in coconut milk and the much-loved salted fish chutney.</p>
  84. <p class="p">Another stall that attracted a lot of visitors was one belonging to Florette Barbe and her 89-year-old mother Eloise Barbe. Both artisans were weaving dried up leaves of a type of palm tree called Latanier or Seychelles stilt palm. Aside from Latanier, they also use coconut leaf sheath, which is known as tanmi koko in the local language. With latanier leaves, handbags, table mats in the form of the famous coco de mer nut and the giant tortoises of Aldabra are made.</p>
  85. <table style="height: 64px;" width="629">
  86. <tbody>
  87. <tr>
  88. <td><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" /></td>
  89. </tr>
  90. <tr>
  91. <td>An artisans were weaving dried up leaves of a type of palm tree called Latanier or Seychelles stilt palm. (Mandy Bertin) Photo License:  <a href="">CC-BY</a> </td>
  92. </tr>
  93. </tbody>
  94. </table>
  95. <p class="p">Handmade coconut soy wax candles, coconut wax melts and coconut vegan reed diffusers were also on sale by Sey Glow, a local business owned by Beverley and Craig Green.</p>
  96. <p class="p">Sey Glow focuses on natural, clean and sustainable handmade products that bear Creole names such as Moutya, kanmtole, Dan Marmit and Fanm Kreol.</p>
  97. <p class="p">The cultural experience would not be complete without the traditional Moutya dance, which has been added to UNESCO's list of intangible heritage, and this is exactly what was on the programme to close the curtains on this event.</p>
  98. <p class="p">Speaking to SNA, the director general for Destination Planning and Development in the Tourism Department, Paul Lebon, said the event falls under the Creole Rendez-Vous umbrella that the Tourism Department is promoting, to enhance visitor experience in terms of cultural tourism activities.</p>
  99. <p class="p">"Many visitors have voiced out that there is a lack of cultural experience and activities that will enable them to enjoy and learn about the Seychellois culture, so we have taken the lead through these series of events," he said.</p>]]></description>
  100. </item>
  102. <item>
  103. <title>Seychelles' Footballer of the Year 2023/24: St.Louis' Dean Mothe</title>
  104. <link></link>
  105. <guid>20734</guid>
  106. <category>Sport</category>
  107. <pubDate>Sat, 15 Jun 2024 17:25:18 +0200</pubDate>
  108. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  109. <description><![CDATA[<p class="p">St. Louis football club winger Dean Mothe has been named Seychelles' Footballer of the Year for the 2023/24 season.</p>
  110. <p class="p">Mothe, who received the award in a ceremony on Friday, was rewarded for a great season of football, where he helped his side to win the Seychelles Premier League title.</p>
  111. <p class="p">In second place was Foresters' Brandon Labrosse, who scored eight times in the league this season, while another St. Louis player, Justin Riaze, came out in third place.  </p>
  112. <p class="p">Lorenzo Hoareau,  also a St. Louis Football Club player, who earlier this week scored his second goal for the Seychelles national team, won the title of the Young Player of the Year.   </p>
  113. <table style="height: 64px;" width="623">
  114. <tbody>
  115. <tr>
  116. <td><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" /></td>
  117. </tr>
  118. <tr>
  119. <td>Lorenzo Hoareau won the title of the Young Player of the Year. (Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: <a href="" target="_blank">CC-BY</a> </td>
  120. </tr>
  121. </tbody>
  122. </table>
  123. <p class="p">Hoareau made football history as the youngest player from an African nation to score a goal with the senior team in an international match in 2021. Hoareau was 14 when he scored for Seychelles and won the youngest African striker award in September 2021.</p>
  124. <p class="p">He is the second youngest player in the world to achieve the feat, behind Aung Kyaw Tun of Myanmar.</p>
  125. <p class="p">There were other individual awards presented on Friday evening and St Louis' Malagasy goalkeeper, Michel 'Toldo' Ramandimbisoa was named the goalkeeper of the season as his side conceded only 18 goals in 18 games.</p>
  126. <table style="height: 64px;" width="605">
  127. <tbody>
  128. <tr>
  129. <td><img style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="" alt="" /></td>
  130. </tr>
  131. <tr>
  132. <td> St Louis' Malagasy goalkeeper, Michel 'Toldo' Ramandimbisoa was named the goalkeeper of the season. (Seychelles News Agency)  Photo License: <a href="" target="_blank">CC-BY</a> </td>
  133. </tr>
  134. </tbody>
  135. </table>
  136. <p class="p">St. Louis made it a clean sweep of individual titles with their coach, Gavin Jeanne, receiving the award for Coach of the Year, after leading his side to a first league title since 2017.</p>
  137. <p class="p">There were also awards for the top scorers in the three divisions of Seychelles football. The award for the top scorer in the Premier League went to Lightstars Rennick Esther in the Premier League with 15 goals. For the Championship, the top scorer was Madagascar's Jocelyn Fenosoa, who scored a massive 34 goals for champions Real Maldives and Fabrice Radriamanantenasoa of Beau Vallon, won the top scorer award in League 1, after finding the net 24 times.</p>
  138. <p class="p">Officials were also rewarded in the ceremony and the Best Male Referee went to Hensley Petrousse. Deidrey Roucou won the Best Female Referee and Rio Dubignon won the award for Young Referee of the Year.</p>]]></description>
  139. </item>
  141. <item>
  142. <title>Leaders head to Ukraine peace summit under shadow of Putin demands</title>
  143. <link></link>
  144. <guid>20733</guid>
  145. <category>General</category>
  146. <pubDate>Sat, 15 Jun 2024 12:36:23 +0200</pubDate>
  147. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  148. <description><![CDATA[<p>World leaders headed to Switzerland on Saturday for a first summit on peace in Ukraine, after Vladimir Putin demanded Kyiv effectively surrender if it ultimately wants negotiations with Moscow.</p>
  149. <p>The two-day gathering at the luxury Burgenstock resort brings together Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and more than 50 other heads of state and government, but without Russia taking part.</p>
  150. <p>Switzerland says the aim is to lay the early groundwork for a path to peace eventually involving Moscow, but Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday branded the summit a "trick to distract everyone".</p>
  151. <p>He said Moscow, which launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, would cease fire and begin peace talks "immediately" if Kyiv pulled its troops out of the east and south and gave up its NATO membership bid.</p>
  152. <p>Zelensky slammed Putin's demands as a territorial "ultimatum" reminiscent of Nazi Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler, while NATO and the United States also immediately rejected the hardline conditions.</p>
  153. <p>After almost a year of stalemate, Ukraine was forced to abandon dozens of frontline settlements this spring, with Russian troops holding a significant advantage in manpower and resources.</p>
  154. <p>But since mid-May, Russian progress has slowed and Zelensky hopes to swing the momentum further with the back-to-back G7 and peace summits.</p>
  155. <p>- <strong>G7 $50 bn, security deal -</strong></p>
  156. <p>The G7 summit in Italy, which Zelensky attended, offered on Thursday a new $50 billion loan for Ukraine, using profits from the interest on frozen Russian assets.</p>
  157. <p>Leaders of the Group of Seven rich democracies said they would support Ukraine "for as long as it takes".</p>
  158. <p>Zelensky said the new loan would go towards "both defence and reconstruction", while Putin branded the move as "theft", warning it would "not go unpunished".</p>
  159. <p>Meanwhile, a landmark 10-year security deal signed by Zelensky and US President Joe Biden on Thursday will see the United States provide Ukraine with military aid and training, with Zelensky calling it a bridge to joining the NATO defence alliance.</p>
  160. <p>Biden will not go from Italy to Switzerland, sending instead his Vice President Kamala Harris, while the other G7 leaders from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Italy are due to attend.</p>
  161. <p>The EU chiefs and the presidents of Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Finland and Poland are among the others heading to Switzerland.</p>
  162. <p>The Summit on Peace in Ukraine aims to see the 92 attending countries agree a final declaration on some tentative basic principles.</p>
  163. <p>Russia's BRICS allies Brazil and South Africa are only sending an envoy, and India will be represented at the ministerial level, while China will not take part at all without Moscow's presence.</p>
  164. <p>- <strong>Finding common ground -</strong></p>
  165. <p>The summit is being held at the ultra-exclusive Burgenstock hotel complex perched high above Lake Lucerne in classic picture-postcard Swiss scenery.</p>
  166. <p>The gathering will focus on narrow themes, based on common ground between Zelensky's 10-point peace plan presented in late 2022, and UN resolutions on the war that passed with widespread support.</p>
  167. <p>The summit aims to find paths towards a lasting peace for Ukraine, based on international law and the United Nations Charter; a possible framework to achieve this goal; and a roadmap as to how both parties could come together in a future peace process.</p>
  168. <p>Experts have warned against too-high expectations from the gathering.</p>
  169. <p>"Meaningful negotiations that could truly end the devastating war in Ukraine remain out of reach, as both Kyiv and Moscow stick to theories of victory that amount to outlasting the other," the International Crisis Group think tank said.</p>
  170. <p>"Kyiv and its backers will be hard pressed to get tangible results from the meeting... beyond reaffirmations of the UN Charter's principles of territorial integrity."</p>
  171. <p>- <strong>Nuclear, food, humanitarian focus -</strong></p>
  172. <p>A plenary session involving all delegations will be held on Saturday.</p>
  173. <p>On Sunday, three topics will be discussed in detail in working groups: nuclear safety, freedom of navigation and food security, and humanitarian aspects. These will look at Black Sea shipping, prisoners of war, civilian detainees and deported children.</p>
  174. <p>A second summit is envisaged, and Zelensky's chief of staff Andriy Yermak said Tuesday that Kyiv hoped Russia would attend and receive a "joint plan" presented by the other attendees.</p>
  175. <p>The Burgenstock mountain is surrounded by the lake on three sides and the hotel complex is on a ridge some 450 metres above the water, making it relatively easy to seal off from traditional physical threats.</p>
  176. <p>However, the Swiss government said its websites have been repeatedly hit with cyberattacks in the build-up to the summit, and has noted a surge in misinformation.</p>
  177. <p>Samuel Charap, a Russia expert at the RAND think tank, said of the Swiss summit: "Russia is clearly going out of its way to demonstrate its pique with it... that tells you something.</p>
  178. <p>"Avoiding the expansion of the pro-Ukraine coalition: they're concerned about this," he told AFP.</p>
  179. <p>© Agence France-Presse</p>]]></description>
  180. </item>
  182. <item>
  183. <title>Endangered species: Seychelles steps up efforts to implement CITES</title>
  184. <link></link>
  185. <guid>20728</guid>
  186. <category>General</category>
  187. <pubDate>Sat, 15 Jun 2024 08:00:21 +0200</pubDate>
  188. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  189. <description><![CDATA[<p class="p">Officials from biosecurity, fisheries, conservation and customs in Seychelles participated in a familiarisation workshop on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).</p>
  190. <p class="p">The workshop, held at the Savoy Resort and Spa, is part of the steps to implement the convention in the country and it aims to step up efforts to fight the illegal trade of wildlife.</p>
  191. <p class="p">CITES is a global agreement among governments to regulate or ban international trade in species under threat. In Seychelles, it is managed by the Ministry of Agriculture, Climate Change and the Environment and part of the ministry's role is to ensure that the trade is legal, sustainable and can be traced.</p>
  192. <p class="p">The director for biosecurity conservation and the local CITES focal point, Ashley Dias, told reporters that the workshop is for the local partners to have open and frank discussions.</p>
  193. <p class="p">During the session, the officials were shown presentations of the various roles the agencies involved have in the implementation.</p>
  194. <p class="p">"This morning we discovered that even some of the officers involved in upholding the convention locally are not aware of what it is or entails. This shows that we have a lot of education work to carry out in that area so that everyone knows what it is," she added.</p>
  195. <p class="p">Through the talks, the authorities hope to identify the existing gaps and how they can work together to implement the convention nationally.</p>
  196. <p class="p">The gaps identified so far were a lack of human and financial resources and the need for more training so that the officers concerned may identify species being traded.</p>
  197. <p class="p">"CITES is a very important convention and as we know there is illegal trade in flora and fauna taking place now, this is the perfect time to talk about how this is happening," said Dias.</p>
  198. <p class="p">She said the authorities have "noticed an increase in illegal wildlife trade, as this sector is even more lucrative than trafficking in illegal drugs. We are working closely with our partners to find out what avenues are being used to do so and what countries where such trades are taking place."</p>
  199. <p class="p">The Trade of Wild Flora and Fauna Act came into force in 2021 allowing authorities to confiscate specimens and fine those found trading illegally.</p>
  200. <p class="p">"What remains now for us is to be able to detect the illegal trade of flora and fauna, which at the moment is very alarming," said Dias.</p>
  201. <p class="p">She said there is a demand for endemic and rare species from Seychelles and in recent years there have been reports of illegal trading of the island nation's giant bronze gecko and potential illicit trading of the endemic Aldabra giant tortoise.</p>
  202. <p class="p">Endemic to the Seychelles' island of Praslin's endangered coco-de-mer palm forests, the vulnerable giant bronze gecko seems more like a close relative of the Komodo dragon from the Galapagos Islands than a gecko.</p>
  203. <p class="p">Dias added that although the authorities are detecting such cases there are many loopholes such as monitoring, control and surveillance in marine areas.</p>
  204. <p class="p">The local CITES management authority says it plans to hold more training to equip all concerned with the tools needed to identify the various species being traded and know existing laws.</p>
  205. <p class="p">"This is a constantly evolving topic and we have to ensure that as a small country, we are always on top of all the changes taking place," said Dias.</p>]]></description>
  206. </item>
  208. <item>
  209. <title>Seychelles' Port Victoria extension project scaled down due to higher costs </title>
  210. <link></link>
  211. <guid>20731</guid>
  212. <category>General</category>
  213. <pubDate>Fri, 14 Jun 2024 15:05:35 +0200</pubDate>
  214. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  215. <description><![CDATA[<p class="p">The Seychelles' Port Victoria extension and rehabilitation project has been revised from 600 metres to 310 metres to cater for an escalation in costs of materials and building resources since the conception of the project in 2018.</p>
  216. <p class="p">This was announced by the deputy chief executive of the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA), Philippa Samson, in a scoping meeting with different terminal operators.</p>
  217. <p class="p">"The new quay will cater for container vessels and tankers primarily and the existing quay that is 370 metres will used for lighter activities until such time that we remove it," she said.</p>
  218. <p class="p">Samson added that many things have changed "since we secured the financing for this project in 2018. We had COVID, we had a huge escalation in the prices in the construction industry. So, we had to really look at what is possible with the financing that we have."</p>
  219. <p class="p">For the extension project, the SPA received $41 million – namely $35 million from the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB). The European Union (EU) has also provided a grant of around $6 million.</p>
  220. <p class="p">Since the project was approved in 2017 and an Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA), there have been major changes to the plan and scope of the project. The Ports Authority and the Department of Environment found it necessary to do an addendum to the ESIA. The meeting on Thursday was part of this process.</p>
  221. <p class="p">Following the presentation of the changes to the project, several people, mainly terminal operators, raised concerns primarily about the fact that the new quay is also meant to be raised by a height of one metre. They were concerned about whether this would affect operations.</p>
  222. <p class="p">Samson said that this raising of the level of the new quay is meant to cater to the expected sea level rise in the future.</p>
  223. <p class="p">"It is understandable because it is different from what we originally advertised and what we envisioned together. So, they do have concerns about how the new port will cater to the traffic. But we would like to reassure them that we have done forecasts and we see what is planned with the existing services from the shipping lines and the planned use of mobile harbour cranes. We foresee that it will be manageable at least for the next 20 years," he added.</p>
  224. <p class="p">Samson said maybe by then "We would have renovated the next part of the quay but it is still left to be seen how things play out but the forecasts show that we can make do with these 310 metres," she explained.</p>
  225. <p class="p">Participants have been given seven days to formally submit their comments regarding the proposed change to the project.</p>
  226. <p class="p">The Port of Victoria of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, is the only port that handles the import and export of goods for the country.</p>]]></description>
  227. </item>
  229. <item>
  230. <title>Seychelles' Cabinet discusses proposed positions for upcoming EU-ESA negotiations</title>
  231. <link></link>
  232. <guid>20723</guid>
  233. <category>General</category>
  234. <pubDate>Fri, 14 Jun 2024 10:08:46 +0200</pubDate>
  235. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  236. <description><![CDATA[<p>The Seychelles' Cabinet of Ministers on Wednesday discussed the island nation's proposed positions in the forthcoming European Union and Eastern Southern Africa negotiations on the liberalisation of the provision of certain services.</p>
  237. <p>Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Madagascar signed the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between the European Union and Eastern and Southern Africa in August 2009, and applied provisionally in May 2012. Comoros signed the agreement in 2017 after the consent of the European Parliament in 2013.</p>
  238. <p>Vice President Ahmed Afif said in a press briefing on Thursday, that the agreement "makes provision for the five countries to export their products and services via the EU to other markets with favourable conditions. Like Seychelles, we export canned tuna and we get favourable conditions such as we do not pay taxes on entry and there is no quota on the quantity we are bringing in."</p>
  239. <p>Afif said that on the other hand, as a country, Seychelles has to encourage exportation towards its destination for almost the same condition that the EU is offering.</p>
  240. <p>"This comes with some difficulties among certain countries for certain products coming into the country without paying taxes. This will impact our revenue, so we decided to discuss with them what is permissible under the agreement that can sustain us. We are not on the same level as them and we would not be able to do the same as them in everything," he explained.</p>
  241. <p>Afif added that Seychelles needs to agree with them on what the country "needs to protect and what can be done under the agreement but for others we will make concessions and compromise. This is the discussion that we have agreed upon."</p>
  242. <p>He gave examples of items like fuel and transport on which there will always be taxes on them and they have accepted this.</p>
  243. <p>"There will always be VAT (Value Added Tax) on most products entering the country but they can say that there are certain areas Seychelles can agree on making concessions for example on dairy products that we are not producing. We can review the conditions under which they are entering the country. Also certain pharmaceutical products but we cannot offer equally what they are offering," said Afif. </p>]]></description>
  244. </item>
  246. <item>
  247. <title>S. African parliament meets to re-elect weakened ANC president</title>
  248. <link></link>
  249. <guid>20727</guid>
  250. <category>General</category>
  251. <pubDate>Fri, 14 Jun 2024 06:41:41 +0200</pubDate>
  252. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  253. <description><![CDATA[<p class="p1">South Africa's newly-elected parliament meets Friday and is expected to re-elect President Cyril Ramaphosa to form an unprecedented coalition government after his ruling ANC cobbled together a coalition deal.</p>
  254. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The African National Congress leader had called for a government of national unity after his party lost its absolute majority in last month's general election, but two major leftist parties shunned the deal.</span></p>
  255. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Instead, according to ANC secretary general Fikile Mbalula, the government would "gravitate to the centre" -- backed by the centre-right Democratic Alliance (DA), the Zulu nationalist Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and several smaller parties.</span></p>
  256. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"We have reached a breakthrough on the common agreement that we need to work together," Mbalula told a news conference in Cape Town, confirming that the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had refused to join what he still called a unity government.</span></p>
  257. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Graft-tainted former president Jacob Zuma's new electoral vehicle, the uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), has disputed the May 29 election results and warned it would boycott Friday's sitting of the 400-member assembly. Mbalula said the ANC was talking to MK, but had not reached agreement.</span></p>
  258. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Ramaphosa is now expected to win the secret ballot of MPs to confirm his re-election.</span></p>
  259. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">That would see him sworn in next week in Pretoria and then unveil his new cabinet, presumably including ministers from both the ANC and the former opposition parties in the coalition.</span></p>
  260. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">- <strong>Post-apartheid democracy -</strong></span></p>
  261. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"The ANC is going into this under the guise of a government of national unity, but really it isn't," political analyst Dr. Hlengiwe Ndlovu of the Wits University School of Governance told AFP. "It's more like coalition talks."</span></p>
  262. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">For 30 years since the advent of post-apartheid democracy, the late Nelson Mandela's African National Congress has held an absolute majority and elected a president from its own ranks.</span></p>
  263. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">But the former liberation movement -- weakened by corruption and recent governments' poor economic performance -- saw its support collapse at the May 29 election, leaving it with only 159 seats out of 400.</span></p>
  264. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"Besides the DA and IFP, Ramaphosa will be building up support from smaller parties... as insurance," said author and political analyst Susan Booysen, amid reports that some ANC MPs may vote against their leader.</span></p>
  265. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"He needs that buffer," she told AFP.</span></p>
  266. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">But the left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters of former ANC youth leader Julius Malema, who wants to nationalise land and some privately-owned businesses, will not join the administration.</span></p>
  267. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">At a news conference on Thursday, Malema said his members would vote for the ANC candidate for president if they were promised the speaker or deputy speaker position in parliament.</span></p>
  268. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">But he denounced the idea of joining a unity government with white politician John Steenhuisen's liberal right DA, which has promised privatisations and market reform.</span></p>
  269. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"We have made it very clear to the president that we are not against the government of national unity," Malema said, recounting a meeting he had held earlier with Ramaphosa.</span></p>
  270. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"We are against the inclusion of the DA and the Freedom Front Plus, because that represents imperialism, represents racism and white supremacy, represents backwardness."</span></p>
  271. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The Freedom Front Plus is a right-wing party, seeking an autonomous Afrikaner homeland.</span></p>
  272. <p class="p1"><span class="s1">- <strong>Millionaire businessman -</strong></span></p>
  273. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">A former trade unionist turned millionaire businessman, 71-year-old Ramaphosa first came to power in 2018 after Zuma was forced out under the cloud of corruption allegations.</span></p>
  274. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Once described by Mandela as one of the most gifted leaders of his generation, Ramaphosa played a key role in the negotiations that brought an end to apartheid in the early 1990s.</span></p>
  275. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Upon taking the reins of the country, he promised a new dawn for South Africa. But critics say he has disappointed.</span></p>
  276. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Under his watch unemployment has reached an almost record high, pushing the ANC towards its worst election result ever.</span></p>
  277. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The party's latest tilt towards the centre, with a coalition supported by centre-right and right-wing groups, might further hamper his popularity, particularly among ANC ranks.</span></p>
  278. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The broad-church party is a progressive outfit of the left that has overseen welfare and economic empowerment programmes for poor, black South Africans.</span></p>
  279. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">© Agence France-Presse</span></p>]]></description>
  280. </item>
  282. <item>
  283. <title>Biden, Zelensky hail $50 billion G7 loan for Ukraine</title>
  284. <link></link>
  285. <guid>20726</guid>
  286. <category>General</category>
  287. <pubDate>Fri, 14 Jun 2024 06:35:57 +0200</pubDate>
  288. <enclosure url="" type="image/jpeg" />
  289. <description><![CDATA[<p class="p1">G7 leaders agreed Thursday on a new $50 billion loan for Ukraine using profits from frozen Russian assets, a move Joe Biden said showed Moscow "we're not backing down".</p>
  290. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The US president and other G7 leaders agreed at a summit in Italy to use the profits from the interest on the assets to back the loan to provide help this year to Kyiv as it struggles in its third year of war with Russia.</span></p>
  291. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Summit host Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced the "political agreement" after the first day of the Puglia talks, saying it was a hard-fought but "fundamental" step.</span></p>
  292. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Meloni invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to join a special session on the Ukraine war alongside the leaders of Germany, France, Canada, Britain and Japan.</span></p>
  293. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">At a joint press conference with the Ukrainian leader afterwards, Biden said the deal emphasised to Russian President Vladimir Putin the long-term commitment of Kyiv's allies.</span></p>
  294. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">With it, the G7 leaders "collectively show Putin he cannot wait us out, he cannot divide us", he said.</span></p>
  295. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Addressing leaders earlier at the luxury Borgo Egnazia resort, Zelensky said the loan was a "vital step forward in providing sustainable support for Ukraine in winning this war".</span></p>
  296. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">He said it would go towards "both defence and reconstruction".</span></p>
  297. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">But he said Ukrainian forces still needed more air-defence systems to help counter attacks by Moscow, which has been pummelling Kyiv's front-line troops and the country's power grid.</span></p>
  298. <p class="p4"><span class="s3">- <strong>Loan syndicate -</strong></span></p>
  299. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The EU agreed earlier this year to help Kyiv by using the profits from the interest on Russian central bank assets frozen by Western allies -- the majority of them held in the bloc.</span></p>
  300. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">But Washington has been pushing for more and faster help through a huge upfront loan.</span></p>
  301. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">A senior Biden administration official said the United States was willing to provide up to $50 billion, but said its contribution could be "significantly less" as it would be a shared initiative.</span></p>
  302. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"We will not be the only lenders. This will be a loan syndicate. We're going to share the risk, because we have a shared commitment to get this done," the official said on condition of anonymity.</span></p>
  303. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">He would not say how much other G7 countries would contribute, nor did any other leaders on Thursday.</span></p>
  304. <p class="p4"><span class="s3">- '<strong>Historic step' -</strong></span></p>
  305. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">G7 countries, which count the EU as their unofficial eighth member, have been Ukraine's key military and financial backers since Russia invaded in February 2022.</span></p>
  306. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The G7 and the EU have frozen around 300 billion euros ($325 billion) of Russian assets, much of it frozen by Euroclear, an international deposit organisation based in Belgium.</span></p>
  307. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">EU countries say they could generate 2.5 to 3.0 billion euros a year for Kyiv from the profits on the interest.</span></p>
  308. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hailed the loan agreement as a "historic step" and a "clear signal to the Russian president that he cannot simply sit this matter out".</span></p>
  309. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">"The basis has been created for Ukraine to be in a position to procure everything it needs... in the near future, in terms of weapons but also in terms of investment in reconstruction or in energy infrastructure," he said.</span></p>
  310. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Zelensky has been engaged in a flurry of diplomacy aimed at shoring up international support, from a reconstruction conference in Berlin earlier this week to an upcoming peace conference in Switzerland at the weekend.</span></p>
  311. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">In Puglia Thursday, he also signed what he called a "historic" 10-year security deal with Biden, and another with Japan.</span></p>
  312. <p class="p4"><span class="s3">- <strong>Political flux -</strong></span></p>
  313. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The summit comes at a time of extraordinary global turmoil.</span></p>
  314. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Apart from the conflict in Ukraine, the Hamas-Israel conflict in Gaza is raging and economic tensions are rising between China and Western countries.</span></p>
  315. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Many G7 countries are also in political flux, with summit attendees aware this could be Biden's last G7 summit if he loses to Donald Trump in November elections.</span></p>
  316. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is tipped to be ousted in July 4 elections, while France's Emmanuel Macron and Germany's Scholz are both under pressure after gains by the far right in EU Parliament elections last weekend.</span></p>
  317. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">By contrast, Italy's Meloni is riding high after her far-right party came out on top in her country's EU Parliament vote.</span></p>
  318. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">But she drew criticism from both France and the United States after reportedly seeking to remove a reference to safe access to abortion from the final G7 statement.</span></p>
  319. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">The summit talks began Thursday with a short session on Africa, before turning to the Middle East, and on Friday the focus will turn to China -- and a visit by Pope Francis.</span></p>
  320. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">G7 leaders on Thursday confirmed their support for a truce and hostage deal in the Hamas-Israel war. Biden said that so far, the "biggest hang-up" was Hamas, which was refusing to sign up.</span></p>
  321. <p class="p2"><span class="s2">© Agence France-Presse</span></p>]]></description>
  322. </item>
  323. </channel>
  324. </rss>
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