18 Mar 2005

American Samoans need passport to visit Samoa - report

9:23 am on 18 March 2005

Reports say American Samoans will need a permit and passport to travel to neighbouring Samoa from the start of May.

Samoa state television is reporting that Cabinet decided on the new travel requirements yesterday.

The decision appears to be a retaliatory response to recent changes that make it harder for travellers from independent Samoa to enter the American territory.

They had been introduced by new Attorney General, Sialega Malaetasi Togafau without prior consultation with the Samoan government as previously agreed to with the American Samoan government.

The Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele said American Samoans find it hard to understand the difficulties faced by Samoans on their side of the border unless they too are required to apply for a permit to enter Samoa.

The Samoa Broadcasting Corporation report stressed that American Samoans would require no lesser form of identification than a passport to enter the country.