The American Samoa delegation this week met with Forum Deputy Secretary General, Esala Nayasi at the Forum Secretariat in Suva.

The focus of the meeting was American Samoa’s bid for Associate Membership in the Pacific Islands Forum, with an eventual goal of achieving full membership in accordance with protocol.

Lieutenant Governor Talauega, leading the delegation, portrayed the Pacific Islands Forum as a gathering deeply rooted in oceanic culture, drawing parallels to the esteemed “Fale o Alii” or House of Chiefs.

However, he highlighted a notable discrepancy where American Samoa’s chiefs found themselves on the outside, observing rather than actively participating alongside their Pacific counterparts.

Emphasising the importance of American Samoa’s application within the broader context of regional assessment, Lieutenant Governor Talauega reiterated the territory’s commitment to adhering to due process and meeting the established criteria for membership consideration.

The meeting concluded on a positive note, with both parties reaffirming their dedication to continued dialogue and collaboration. As part of the application process, an on-the-ground visit to American Samoa is scheduled, aiming for a comprehensive review ahead of the upcoming PIF meeting in August.

Lieutenant Governor Talauega expressed gratitude to Deputy Secretary General Nayasi and the PIFS team for their assistance and guidance, expressing optimism for the future engagement of American Samoa within the region.