9 Sep 2011

American Samoa's Tulafono pleased to be part of Pacific family

8:42 am on 9 September 2011

The Pacific American territories have been granted observer status to the Pacific Islands Forum.

In the communiqué following their annual summit, leaders recognised the vitally important role played by the United States and its territories to by inviting American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas to become observers.

American Samoa's governor, Togiola Tulafono, says the Territory will enjoy the chance to come back to what he calls the Pacific family.

"We are very much involved in other organisations with the Pacific nations, but in very different capacities. The PIF is in my view, the organisation where the leaders come together, to exchange ideas about how life is, and how to develop."

Togiola Tulafono says it is important for the Pacific territories to be part of that dialogue.

Leaders reiterated their 2004 decision to support the principle of French Polynesia's right to self determination, but encourage France and French Polynesia to seek an agreed approach.