|May 9, 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|WASHINGTON, D.C.—FALEOMAVAEGA COMMENTS ON DECOLONIZATION ISSUES FOR AMERICAN SAMOA|
| Congressman Eni F.H.
Faleomavaega today announced that he has written to Governor Tauese Sunia
to express his thoughts on decolonization issues concerning American Samoa.
In his letter to the Governor,
a copy of which was sent to the Lieutenant Governor
The Congressman noted, “While I was honored to attend last year’s seminar in Havana, Cuba with you and our distinguished government leaders to clearly state again American Samoa’s position, unfortunately I must remain in Washington next week. The U.S. Congress is in session and the Andean Trade Preference Expansion Act, legislation crucially impacting on American Samoa’s tuna canneries and economy, is under negotiation for Senate passage, with the House conference to follow. I am working closely with our supporters in the Senate to protect Samoa’s interests.”
“With regard to the Fiji seminar,” wrote Faleomavaega, “it is my understanding that no representatives from the U.S. State Department or U.S. Mission to the United Nations will be attending. This is unfortunate, as there will be no substantive progress on the issue of American Samoa’s status as a “colony” in the eyes of the United Nation until the U.S. Government is firmly engaged. At present, there are no negotiations on American Samoa underway between the United Nations and the U.S. Government.”
“To that effect,” the Congressman stated, “I wish to inform you that I am pursuing this matter and my office has been in consultation with the U.S. Mission to the United Nations (USUN) and the State Department. In my appointed capacity as the U.S. Congressional Representative to the United Nations, I will be traveling to New York next month and intend to meet with the Deputy United States Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador James B. Cunningham, and other high-ranking USUN officials to coordinate consideration of American Samoa’s status with the leadership of the U.N. Decolonization Committee.”
Faleomavaega stressed, “In pursuing this, I will continue to emphasize that it is imperative the people of American Samoa are fully informed on the issues and given the opportunity to voice their concerns through a referendum/plebiscite before any change is made to the territory’s status.”
“I would further note,” wrote the Congressman, “that once the will of the people of American Samoa is determined, this could still be a lengthy process, possibly taking years, as it will require a formal recommendation issued by the Decolonization Committee, followed by a vote in the U.N. Fourth Committee for Special Political and Decolonization, which will then forward it on for consideration and final vote before the United Nations General Assembly.”
In concluding his letter to the Governor, Faleomavaega wrote, “I commend you and Lieutenant Governor Togiola Tulafono for your commitment on this matter and in traveling to Fiji to represent American Samoa’s interests. I look forward to discussing this further with you as developments transpire.”
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