28 Mar 2007

Swains leader opposed to Tokelau bid for island

8:11 pm on 28 March 2007

The Swains Island delegate in the American Samoan legislature, Alexander Eli Jennings, says he will resist any efforts by Tokelau to take over Swains Island.

This echoes a comment by the American Samoan member of the US Congress, Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, who says the island is privately owned although it's part of American Samoa.

Earlier this month, one of the three village leaders or faipule, Kolouei O'Brien, expressed his hope that a vote on self government later this year would allow Tokelau to talk directly with the United States about the future administration of Swains Island.

Mr Jennings said this is the not the first time this has come up and he has referred the latest comments to the U.S. State Department.

Faleomavaega says if there are to be discussions and deliberations on the future status of Swains Island it will involve the governments of New Zealand and the United States.