4 Oct 2006

American Samoan call to remove ambiguities in US links

7:49 pm on 4 October 2006

American Samoa's member of the US Congress has urged that the commission reviewing the territory's political status first resolve what he termed lingering ambiguities regarding its relationship with the US.

Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin has repeated concerns he had raised when he testified before the commission shortly after it was established.

American Samoa's political relationship with the US is governed by the two Treaties or Deeds of Cession signed in 1900 and 1904.

Faleomavaega holds the view that these documents provide no clear protections for the culture or guidance for the territory's relationship with the US and no expression of political unity between Tutuila and Manu'a.

He says these two treaties assert United States sovereignty over local lands and the lives of the people of American Samoa.

Faleomavaega questions whether the territorial constitution should be subject to congressional or presidential authority.

The congressman has asked the commission that instead of examining all possible future political options, they focus first on clarifying the original sources of authority underpinning the current relationship with the US.