“Where does Seychelles, which is internationally reputed to be a paradise on Earth, sit in the state of a world which is in conflict today?” This was the pertinent question which the interviewer from the Azerbaijan national TV and radio network posed to Sir James R. Mancham, Seychelles founding President, yesterday in Baku following the opening session of the 4th Baku Conference at the Four Seasons Hotel by His Excellency Ilham Aliyev, President of Azerbaijan.
Sir James said that “paradise on Earth” was a perception mostly in the mind of outsiders who viewed the Seychelles against the background of its glossy colors and the obvious blessing arising out of its once isolation from the rest of the world. Today, however, Seychelles is part of the global village in a changing world and not immune to the shock and turbulence which is characterizing a world of continued crisis. “Unfortunately, many of our people are not appreciative of what nature and a relatively benevolent government is providing them with. There is in Seychelles today the problem of rising expectations of keeping up with the jones, and of course the temptation to think that the grass on the other side of the fence is greener than the one at home which the outsider would consider not to be the case. He said that Seychelles today has its own pressing challenges and above all the need to preserve fraternal harmony, internal peace and reconciliation in the interest of stability.”
Sir James said that as a global peacemaker he was grateful to the Nizami Ganjavi International Centre for holding the 4th consecutive year the Baku Forum in association with the Club de Madrid. Today, the international community is becoming more and more aware of the important role the Baku Conference is playing with the support of the government of Azerbaijan to bring together men and women of wisdom and experience in international affairs to contribute towards the transforming of the current world situation in finding a solution to a sustainable world order.
Two important sessions of the forum took place yesterday – the first one concerned the state of the world today and what we need for tomorrow to tackle the most pressing issues. Moderated by James Bolger, Prime Minister of New Zealand (1990-1997). The speakers in that session included:
– Mladen Ivanic, Member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina
– Bujar Nishani, President of Albania, President of the Republic of Albania
– Giorgi Margvelashvili, President of the Republic Georgia
– Filip Vujanovic, President of Montenegro
– Gjorge Ivanov, President of the Republic of Macedonia
– Gro Harlem Brundtland, Prime Minister of Norway (1981; 1986-89; 1990-96)
– Ehud Barak, Prime Minister of Israel (1999-2001)
– Tarja Halonen, President of Finland (2000-2012)
This was followed by a session on the need of the global community to take responsibility for what is going on in Syria moderated by Peter Semneby, Swedish Ambassador to Syria. Speakers included:
– Franco Frattini, MFA of Italy (2002-2004; 2008-2011), President SIOI
– Amre Moussa, Secretary General, Arab League (2001-2011)
– Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada (1993-2003)
– Viktor Zubkov, Prime Minister of Russia (2007-2008; 2012)
– Amine Gemayel, President of Lebanon (1982-1988)
– Hikmet Cetin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey (1991-1994)
Sir James said that he fully supported the need at this time to give priority focus on what has been going on in Syria.
“The last few years have shown that no single great power has the means to put an end to a conflict of the dimensions of Syria’s. The Syrian conflict stands as a testimony of the progressive multi-polarization of international politics, and highlights the failure of the international community, or even a coalition of Western powers; it also underscores the necessity to compromise with the interests of new or resurgent diplomatic players. Now entering its fifth year, the Syrian civil war appears intractable, thus requiring that every power takes responsibility to achieve a peaceful settlement and contribute to a sustainable post-conflict nation-building.”
Yesterday evening Sir James was one of the VIP guests specially invited to attend a gala dinner at the Jumeriah Hotel hosted by Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.