TWO SAMOAS SEEK TO SOLVE TRAVEL DIFFERENCES

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Mar. 30) – Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele is to meet an American Samoa delegation in Apia later this week to try to resolve recent differences over travel permits between the two Samoas.

This follows a recent request by American Samoa’s Governor, Togiola Tulafono, for a meeting with Tuilaepa.

The American Samoan delegation includes Lt. Gov. Ipulasi Aitofele Sunia and the secretary of Samoan Affairs, Mauga Tasi Asuega.

[Samoa, formerly Western Samoa, is an independent nation once administered by New Zealand. Neighboring American Samoa is a United States territory.]

Samoa wants to formalise travel arrangements between the two Samoas, with the Prime Minister describing the current arrangements as "unsatisfactory".

He says informal arrangements at the moment are ambiguous, and in turn, disadvantage travellers from Samoa.

Tuilaepa says the original understanding of the 14-day permit, to be issued at an America Samoa office in Apia, wasn’t followed through, and the territory never established the office.

Meanwhile, Samoa’s cabinet has approved a proposal for Entry Permits for US nationals entering Samoa from American Samoa.

The proposal demands that from may this year, all U.S. nationals from American Samoa will need to have passports which are valid for at least six months from the date of departure from Samoa.

March 31, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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