Samoa is not giving up on its campaign to induct her neighboring cousin, American Samoa, to be inducted into the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) as a full member.
The US Territories of American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands were granted observer status in the Pacific Islands Forum in September 2011, while the French Territories of French Polynesia and New Caledonia were granted full membership of the Forum in September 2016.
The campaign for American Samoa to become a full member is well backed by the Polynesian Leaders Group, confirms Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi..
“At this point, PIF is continuing the conservation to consider American Samoa’s political status, as a Territory of the United States. This does not take away the fact that the territorial government has contributed to the economic, social and political developments of the region and the Pacific Forum.”
The Prime Minister went on to highlight that while American Samoa may be a Territory of the United State, they have been a self-governing country under the current structure followed by the American Samoan Government.
“They have their own Supreme Courts, their own Fono and governing body leaders, so practically, they are like an independent nation..
“So it is a conversation we continue to discuss and we support having them enter into the Pacific Island Leaders Forum in the future,” he said.
Tuilaepa added that American Samoa may be a Territory by law, but in many respects it does operate as an independent nation.
“American Samoa’s contribution to the welfare of the Pacific should be justification to support their acceptance as a member of the PIF regional family.”
Tuilaepa also noted that it is no big secret when it comes to our cultural, family and blood ties with American Samoa and if inducted into the PIF, it would be a huge benefit for the two Samoas when it comes to regional issues pertaining to mutually beneficial socio-economic developments.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa says he is optimistic that American Samoa is half a step away from joining the PIF considering they are already an official member of the Polynesian Islands leaders’ roundtable.