4 Mar 2008

American Samoa Governor asks Washington to allow US territories to join Pacific Forum

2:59 pm on 4 March 2008

American Samoa has renewed its call for the territory to be allowed to become an associate member of the Pacific Islands Forum.

Governor Togiola Tulafono told a meeting of federal agencies in Washington that Forum Island countries regularly discuss issues that are crucial to the development of the region.

But he says those countries do so without the viewpoint of American Samoa and other US territories.

The Governor has criticised the Federal Government for insisting that territories have to go through the State Department and cannot apply to the Forum directly for membership.

He says giving Guam, CNMI and American Samoa non-voting observer status in regional organisations like the Forum is in line with the US policy of granting greater self determination for the territories.