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Update: Inter Samoa Talks to convene in Pago Pago next month with "extensive agenda"

fili@samoanews.com

Leaders of American Samoa and Samoa along with their government representatives will convene next month in Pago Pago for the Inter Samoa Talks, which will cover a wide range of mutual issues and understandings between the two sides.

Speaking on his weekend radio program, Gov. Togiola Tulafono says the talks are set for Oct. 8 and 9, and hosted by American Samoa as the previous meeting was hosted by Samoa. The governor didn’t specify any particular matters of discussion this year, but he says that there are some new issues that have come up since the last Inter Samoa Talks, which were a while back.

He said these new issues require both sides to continue these talks and Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi will lead his government and private sector delegation.

Commerce Department deputy director Lelei Peau and his staff have been putting together an “extensive agenda” for the meeting, with input from other ASG agencies and offices as well as the Chamber of Commerce, said Chamber chairman David Robinson yesterday when contacted for comments about whether or not the local business organization is involved with the Inter Samoa talks.

All major issues regarding the two Samoas are covered in the agenda meeting and among the issues are agriculture, fisheries, transportation, telecommunication, economic development and health, said Robinson, who added that first day of the meeting is currently scheduled at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium.

Specific details of the meeting agenda is expected to be released prior to the meeting, with the governor to lead the local delegation of ASG officials and the Chamber. “These Inter Samoa talks are very important for both sides and I’m pleased that the private sector is again being given the opportunity to take part,” said Robinson.

Samoa News archive records show that the last Inter Samoa Talks were held in 2007 in Samoa, where among the issues discussed was a joint working relationship between the Chambers of Commerce of the two Samoas.

Since 2007, government officials of the two Samoas have been holding their own separate discussions on various issues to further improve the relationship between American Samoa and Samoa until the next Inter Samoa talks.

There have been some major developments in telecommunications since 2007 and among them is the launching in the summer of 2009 the undersea fiber optic cable owned by the American Samoa Hawai’i Cable (ASH-Cable) LLC, the company that is 33% owned by the territorial government.

ASH Cable also owns the subsidiary, Samoa American Samoa LLC, the fiber optic cable line of ASH Cable linking American Samoa and Samoa.

Another major telecommunication development occurred in the private sector, when Blue Sky Communications purchased the majority share of the Samoa government owned SamoaTel.



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