January 22, 1998
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- FALEOMAVAEGA MEETS WITH HIS MAJESTY
KING TAUFA'AHAU TUPOU IV IN NEW YORK
Congressman Faleomavaega announced today that he met with His Majesty Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, King of Tonga, in New York City on January 21st, concerning current efforts of the Kingdom of Tonga to expand its economy within the Pacific region.
Upon receiving an inquiry from the office of His Majesty King Tupou concerning the activities of my Washington, D.C. Congressional office, Faleomavaega requested and was granted a meeting with the King. "I met with His Majesty and briefed him on the events and issues in Congress affecting the Pacific region. As part of the discussion, I informed His Majesty of my election to the position as Senior Democrat on the Fisheries Subcommittee, and the impact the fishing industry is having on Pacific Island nations and their economic development," said Faleomavaega.
"Another item of interest I had even from the time I was Lieutenant Governor of American Samoa is the need for the Kingdom of Tonga to establish a presence at the United Nations and in Washington, D.C. It appears His Majesty has expressed that interest and his government is making inquires along those lines," continued Faleomavaega.
"If this is the direction His Majesty's government chooses to take, I will be thrilled and happy to help the Tongan government in any way. Washington, D.C. is a complex city, and it takes a while to understand how best to make one's presence known when you are one of 185 nations with embassies in town, plus thousands of interest groups seeking to make their voices heard."
Travel arrangements for this meeting were assisted by the First Secretary of the embassy of the Independent State of Samoa, Ms. Desna Solofa.
During Faleomavaega's meeting with His Majesty, Her Royal Highness, Princess Salote Pilolevu joined the meeting and shared with the Congressman the progress made with the TONGASAT consortium. "This was an excellent opportunity and the consortium is moving forward with international companies including the United States and Russia," noted the Congressman.
After the meeting with His Majesty, Her Royal Highness hosted a business luncheon with the directors of the TONGASAT corporation. Faleomavaega was actively involved when he was Lieutenant Governor and has always supported stronger ties with His Majesty's government. "I have always been a strong advocate of the needs of the people and the Kingdom of Tonga," said Faleomavaega.
The Secretary General of the United Nations, His Excellency Kofi Annan met with His Majesty, as did ambassadors from several Pacific Island nations.
"I had not seen His Majesty in some time, and I am pleased to report that he is in excellent health. He turned 80 years old last July and is still swimming every day," concluded the Congressman.