30 Sep 2010

US chided for ignoring Pacific

5:19 pm on 30 September 2010

The Chairman of the United States' House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment, says, after years of neglect, the US needs to do much more if it's to play a key role in the Pacific.

American Samoa's US congressman, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, says it's unfortunate that the United States Agency for International Development is backing away from pledges to open offices in Fiji and Papua New Guinea after an absence from the region of 15 years.

The congressman says all Pacific Island nations and Congress had been led to believe the administration decided months ago to open offices in Suva and Port Moresby and to follow through with a robust set of assistance programmes.

He says he finds USAID's new resistance to that previously-announced decision more than deeply disappointing.

Faleomavaega says it's unacceptable and he is promising to do what he can to ensure the administration lives up to its promises.