Michael Upton was accredited as New Zealand High Commissioner to Seychelles on Tuesday. (Nation of Seychelles)
Border security and tackling the flow of illegal substances were at the forefront of discussions, the newly accredited high commissioner for New Zealand said on Tuesday.
Speaking to the press after his accreditation to State House, Victoria, High Commissioner Michael Upton said both topics were strongly emphasized by President Wavel Ramkalawan.
“We are very keen to look at areas where experience and knowledge can be shared, particularly in the area of border control. This is an area of concern where we will explore what is possible, in particular to examine what can be done to address flows of illicit substances,” Upton said.
Discussions also focused on the topic of COVID-19[feminine] and how it has affected the economies of both, where Upton pointed out that trade between the two countries, especially supply chains, has faced difficulties during the pandemic.
Seychelles and New Zealand shared Diplomatic links since 1992 and Upton said the two countries have a lot in common, especially when it comes to climate change, as both countries are ocean island nations.
Discussions also focused on multilateral concerns, such as the upcoming climate change conference — COP27 — and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
“We talked about the importance of climate change with the COP27 happening in Egypt later this year. It is very important that the world move towards implementation. New Zealand has contributed over $1.3 billion in funding from 2022 to 2025, with 50% of that funding going towards adaptation,” Upton said.
The upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Kigali in June was also discussed.
Upton told the press that there were a series of important matters to be resolved at this meeting and that New Zealand wanted to see the Commonwealth come together.
“New Zealand can contribute in a very targeted way, particularly in the areas of human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” Upton said.
He expressed his country’s concerns over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and said “New Zealand stands with the international community and we have been very grateful for Seychelles’ support for Ukraine. in these forums”.
The High Commissioner said President Ramkalawan affirmed Seychelles’ non-aligned position and commitment to speak out on issues of concern.
During his week-long working visit to Seychelles, a 115-island group in the western Indian Ocean, Upton, who is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, will also call on several ministers.