Informed sources have alleged the Soviet Union is training soldiers sent to Moscow from the Strategically important islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Oceans.
GV AND LV PAN: Seychelles islands looking though trees and flowers to beach (5 shots)
GV ZOOM INTO LV: Main town
GV: Main street with Victorian clock tower (2 shots)
LV PULL BACK TO GV: Church at water's edge, PULL BACK TO GV of bay
GV PAN: Air France jumbo jet lands
GV: A hotel
SV AND CU: Waitress serving guests around hotel pool. (3 shots)
TOP VIEW: Tourists walking along street
LV EXTERIORS: Of Barclay's Bank and Banque Fa Francaise commercial (2 shots)
SV AND CU: Flag and plaque outside Embassy of People's Republic of China. (2 shots)
CU AND SV: Soviet embassy sign and building. (2 shots)
GV PAN: Harbour and main city
SV: Yachts at anchor in harbour
GV ZOOM INTO SV: Satellite tracking domes on hilltop overlooking bay
SV: Officer drilling troops. (2 shots)
LV ZOOM INTO SV: Church at water's edge, with water lapping at base of wall. (2 shots)
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Background: Informed sources have alleged the Soviet Union is training soldiers sent to Moscow from the Strategically important islands of the Seychelles in the Indian Oceans. The allegation was made at the end of May this year as President Carter ordered United States marine units to go the British island of Diego Garcia six hundred miles (965 km) away. The United States decision to send their combat-ready forces to Diego Garcia was announced as part of a wider strategy to increase the Western powers' military capacity in the region. Since the left-wing government of President Albert Rene took power three years ago the islanders of the Seychelles have seen the beginnings of the transformation of their society.
SYNOPSIS: The Seychelles gained independence from Britain in 1976 and James Mancham was elected President with Mr Albert Rene as Prime Minister in a coalition government. But after a year, in which the islands acquired an international image as the playground of the rich, Mr Mancham was overthrown in his absence aboard during a bloodless coup backed by Tanzania. Mr Rene was proclaimed President and committed his government to a programme of development based on equality, discipline and economic self sufficiency.
French settlers arrived in the s Seychelles in 1770. Like subsequent British colonists they were attracted by the agricultural potential of the islands. In the recent years however foreign interest in the Seychelles has been based on its geo-political position. The strand of ninety-two isles is strategically located amid the oil shipping lanes from the Parsian Gulf. With excellent harbour and airport facilities the Seychelles are ideally placed to become a pawn in the long-term military aims of both Eastern and Western powers.
Since the coup which brought him to power in 1977 President Rene has followed a non-aligned policy, declaring that the Indian Ocean should be an international peace zone. A Chinese embassy opened on Mahe three years ago and the Soviet Union opened its first embassy in the islands earlier this year. But Mr Rene has repeatedly insisted the Syechelles should remain independent the Syechellas should remain independent of all power blocs.
In December 1979 President Rene said visits by foreign navy ships would b be restricted by annual quotes and the Seychelles would accept military cooperation only from Third World countries. At present the Soviet Union relies on naval facilities at Aden and madagascar. A permanent Soviet naval base and airstrip on the Seychelles would counter the United States presence on Diego Garcia.
Since seizing power Mr Rene claimed he has twice forestalled coup attempts and there is now a nightly curfew, rigidly imposed by patrols made up of the Tanzanian army and local militia units. Allegations that Seychelles soldiers are receiving training in the Soviet Union have distributed Western observers. They see the move as a strengthening of Seychelles' ties with the Communist world, despite President Rene's assertions of a policy of non-alignment.