26 Oct 2006

American Samoa's application for membership not raised at Pacific Island Forum

1:46 pm on 26 October 2006

American Samoa's push for associate membership of the Pacific Islands Forum was deferred during the recent summit in Fiji because the territory had not applied through Washington.

The US State Department asked American Samoa to withdraw an application it had sent directly to the Forum Secretary General and to pass it through them.

Anthony Welcher from the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs at the State Department wrote to the governor's office saying that if American Samoa decides to pursue the question of interaction with the Forum for 2007, the territory has to channel its request through to his office.

Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin is supporting the State Department's move.

He says he's hopeful that by following US protocols next year ASG will be able to join the Pacific Forum as an associate member in 2007.