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Samoa Talks tentatively set

The Inter-Samoa summit, known to many as the Samoa Talks, is tentatively scheduled to be held during the first week of May 2014 in Samoa.


The Samoa Talks had initially been set for last year — Governor Lolo M. Moliga’s first year in office. Lolo told reporters in Samoa that the Samoan government wanted to discuss the summit even before his inauguration but he held off, insisting that he needed time to research and think about important issues that required detailed discussions and finding ways for both Samoas to benefit from the summit.


Lolo was in Samoa last week to discuss the inter-Samoa talks and to officially invite Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Malielegaoi, Head of State Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese, a fautasi team, and a dance group to American Samoa’s Flag Day celebrations to be held in April this year.


Prior to Lolo’s trip, a local delegation led by Chief Election Officer Tuaolo Vaivao Manaia Fruean travelled to Samoa to iron out details regarding scheduling. Tuaolo was accompanied by ASTCA CEO Moefa’auo Bill Emmsley and Commerce Dept. Director Keniseli Lafaele.


The trio arrived back in the territory last Monday and briefed the Governor before Lolo hopped on a flight to Samoa the next day.


Samoa News understands that high on the Samoa government’s agenda is the issue of immigration. Lolo told reporters in Samoa that his concern is sparked by the fact that a high percentage of inmates at the Territorial Correctional Facility are from Samoa.


Other issues set to be discussed include exportation of taro from Samoa, which Lolo said he has no intention of putting a stop to anytime soon. As for education and health care, Lolo was quoted in the Samoa Observer, a newspaper in Samoa, as saying he is not against hiring teachers and doctors from Samoa, because they have knowledge of the Samoan people and culture, meaning “they understand our situation.”


With regards to the tuna industry, Lolo is quoted as saying, “I know when we open our Tri Marine cannery next year we are hoping to get some help from here (Samoa) with the employment.”


The governor said, “Right now they employ a little over a hundred people and hopefully when they finish the canning factory they will be able to employ at least 1,000 employees. That is where I depend on Samoa because there are so many young people” from Samoa who need jobs.


As part of the local delegation who will be involved in the issues set to be discussed, Tuaolo said they anticipate re-raising some of the agenda items that were discussed during the last Samoa Talks, which was held in American Samoa in October 2012.


At the time, it was agreed that the two Samoas would offer continued cooperation with regards to the new undersea fiber optic cable (communication), economic integration, immigration, transportation, joint disaster preparedness, and energy.