AMERICAN SAMOA TO UN: DON'T CALL US A COLONY

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By Fili Sagapolutele

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 26, 2001 - Samoa News/PINA Nius Online)---American Samoa was not a prize of war or conquered and, therefore, should not be listed as a colony by the United Nations, said Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin.

Faleomavaega said that United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan's request to the United States government to decolonize American Samoa is far fetched.

Congressman Faleomavaega, a ranking democrat on the U.S. House Committee on International Relations, will attend a United Nations seminar next month in Havana, Cuba, where he will speak against moves by the UN to label American Samoa as a U.S. colony.

Gov. Tauese Sunia also plans to attend the seminar.

The May 23-25 seminar will review political, economic and social conditions in the small island non-governing territories.

"I totally disagree with Annan and object to his statement," Congressman Faleomavaega said.

Annan's statement was made before the UN Decolonization Committee in New York last month.

Faleomavaega said that the governor has explained in past UN meetings that the relationship between American Samoa and the United States is very unique compared to other territories.

"A colony is when a country of greater force, such as the U.S. or Great Britain, conquers smaller island countries or obtains a smaller country as a prize of war," Faleomavaega said.

"But American Samoa was never a prize of war or conquered for that matter. We became a territory by mutual agreement through the treaty of cession (1900) and we have established a unique political relationship with the U.S.

"This mutual agreement makes us different from other U.S. territories, such as Guam and Puerto Rico, which were war prizes and annexed by the U.S.

"There has been no serious indication that our people want a different relationship (with the U.S.).

"This issue [of our status] has not been fully addressed by the people and leaders of American Samoa. I am not happy with the UN committee ... when this relationship exists and [there has been] no consultation not only with the people but the leaders, including myself," he said.

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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