25 Aug 2005

American Samoa to explore US statehood

4:25 pm on 25 August 2005

The president of the American Samoan senate has approached the territory's delegate in the US Congress in a bid to get advice on whether the territory can become a US state.

Lolo Moliga says American Samoa is at the crossroads of its political journey, and based on the many changes in the relationship with the United States, people need to know if there is a more viable than the current status.

He says options to study include Commonwealth status which is similar to the status of the Northern Mariana Islands, Free Association or a Compact of Free Association as acquired by Palau.

Our correspondent in Pago Pago, Fili Sagapolutele, says people in American Samoa are keen to maintain their close ties with the US.

"It's not much of a reason of money but for the fact that all people born in American Samoa are considered US nationals and the pride of being american itself although not US citizens, still American Samoans born here are proud of their heritage and being part of the american family."

Fili Sagapolutele