• Short Summary

    The Indian Ocean Islands of Seychelles are due to become independent of Britain on 29 June.

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    The Indian Ocean Islands of Seychelles are due to become independent of Britain on 29 June. Delegations from all over the world have been arriving on the main island of Mahe to take part in the celebrations -- among them, a team from The People's Republic of China.

    SYNOPSIS: They arrived on Saturday (19 June) and were met by Seychelle's President-elect, James Mancham. The delegation was led by China's Ambassador to Ethiopia, Yang Chou Chiang. The independence celebrations will mark the end of 200 years of colonial rule, and the group of 86 islands will become a republic within the British commonwealth. It has applied to join the Lome convention of European Economic Community - the EEC - which would qualify the republic for financial and economic assistance. It has already applied for membership of the Organisation of African Unity and is considering joining the United Nations.

    Britain will give Seychalles GBP 10 million sterling (about 18 million US dollars) in aid over the next two years. But much of the republic's income will come from tourism, and development of its fishing industry. It has been estimated the Seychelles economy might be self-sufficient by 1981, although the new government is facing a number of problems. It acknowledge that malnutrition is common among the population, with many living a meagre existence.

    Mr. Mancham, who is Prime Minister at the moment, has said his country will not allow military bases to be built on its territory, and will maintain a strict foreign policy of military non-involvement. It will have no defence treaties with other nations, and will keep out of big-power quarrels. But the Seychelles government hopes to encourage foreign investment and will he seeking development aid from friendly nations and international organisations.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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