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U.S. won't allow Samoa to be full member of Pacific Islands Forum

Staff Writer |
Samoa's government says close to 60 percent of the country's electricity supply is now being produced by renewable sources.

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It says three private companies are providing solar power, complementing input from the Electric Power Corporation, which uses hydro, solar and wind power generators.

With the corporation driving towards a target of 100 percent renewable power generation by 2021, the government says more projects are in the pipeline.

These include a second wind energy project designated for Tiavi, on the hills behind Apia.

The eight megawatt project is part of a partnership with a private company that requires it to build the wind farm plus a hydro storage plant on Upolu.

When complete the wind farm will be the second in Samoa.

The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Islands has indicated that American Samoa may not not join the Pacific Islands Forum as a full member.

KHJ News asked Matthew J. Matthews if the U.S. would allow American Samoa to become a full member of the Forum, in the same way that France has allowed its overseas territories.

Mr Matthews, who attended last year's Forum meeting in Apia, says the U.S. is pleased that observer status had been granted to American Samoa and two other US territories.

However he said the U.S. had not received a formal request from American Samoa to join the Forum as a full member.

He said under the U.S. Constitution and longstanding practice, the federal government has full responsibility to conduct the foreign relations of all areas subject to U.S. jurisdiction, and U.S. states, territories, and possessions are precluded from independently exercising foreign policy.

American Samoa Governor Lolo Moliga has said that the U.S. has a different interest and role in events such as the Forum summit, so he believes the focus of U.S. representatives would not necessarily be related to the needs and interests of the territory.

The governor said that since American Samoa is in the region and is a small island state, it's important that it also takes part and makes an input in organisations such as the Foum.

As a territory of the US , and without full membership in the Forum, American Samoa cannot have access to funding and programs that are available to island countries.

One example is the Green Climate Fund in which the US has invested $1 billion.

The governor noted that the French territories of New Caledonia and French Polynesian have access to the Fund , but not American Samoa.

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