2 Mar 2009

American Samoa again tackles issue of US allowing territory observer status at regional meetings

7:10 am on 2 March 2009

American Samoa's governor, Togiola Tulafono, has again relayed to U.S. state department his unhappiness over federal restrictions placed on the territory's participation in Pacific regional meetings.

Togiola says this is an old issue that continues to surface for American Samoa and it was raised during a meeting in Washington D.C. with Margaret Hayes, director of Ocean Affairs with the State Department.

The governor asked the Obama administration to allow American Samoa to be a part of any US State Department delegation as an 'observer' in any or all Pacific regional meetings.

Togiola says American Samoa has never received an official response from the State Department on past requests.

According to the governor, the Pacific Forum has invited American Samoa to participate in the regional meetings but have never been given permission by the federal government to attend as an 'observer' or with 'observer' status.

Ms Hayes says she will raised this matter with Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.