18 Mar 2005

Samoa opposition chides government over American Samoa policy

4:21 pm on 18 March 2005

The Samoan opposition leader, Le Mamea Ropati, says the government should negotiate and not lash out at American Samoa over new travel requirements.

As of May the 1st, Samoa wants that American Samoan nationals have a special permit and passport to enter Samoa.

The move follows controversy between the two sides, with American Samoa trying to stop visitors from Samoa from overstaying.

The latest rule was for Samoans to apply for 14-day permits.

The new Attorney-General of American Samoa, Sialega Malaetasi, has said that the permits have been abused.

He says the permits were to be used strictly for emergency cases and for business.

He put the blame on the Immigration Office in Apia for not screening more carefully.

Samoa has responded by introducing the new measures.

Le Mamea Ropati continuing negotiations should have been carried out over the matter.