7 Mar 2005

Two Samoas begin negotiations on sea border

8:41 am on 7 March 2005

Negotiations begin in the Samoan capital, Apia, tomorrow to formalise the sea boundary between the two Samoas.

The Samoan delegation, led by the Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele, will settle the issue with a delegation from the United States.

Since the western islands of Samoa became independent in 1962 its sea border with neighbouring American Samoa has never been drawn up exactly.

Tuilaepa, who is also the Minister of Foreign Affairs, says this will be the first of a whole series of negotiations.

Samoa is surrounded on all sides by the territorial waters of other countries including Wallis and Futuna Islands; Tokelau, Tonga and American Samoa

The prime minister says Samoa will have to negotiate with France (for Wallis and Futuna); New Zealand (on behalf of Tokelau); the Kingdom of Tonga and the United States of America (on behalf of American Samoa).