22 Apr 2009

American Samoa renews bid for Forum observer status

2:28 pm on 22 April 2009

The American Samoan member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, has asked the U.S. State Department to support the territory's application to become an observer with the Pacific Islands Forum.

At the 2006 Forum summit in Fiji, American Samoa applied for observer status but on advice of the US State Department, the Forum secretariat did not consider the application.

Faleomavaega says the state department had done so without any consultation with either the American Samoa government or himself, who at the time was the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

He says it is unfortunate that the U.S. territories are not able to voice their concerns or raise any issues of interest with the Pacific Islands Forum in which they would be able to address them with a common front.

This week, Faleomavaega wrote to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asking her to grant American Samoa observer status.