Prime Minister, Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi is urging American Samoa to sign up as a member in the Pacific Island Forum.
Having just returned from the inauguration ceremony of the Territory, he said American Samoa continues to hold close ties with U.S. - one of the most powerful nations in the world.
However he dismissed calls to have the Territory join Samoa again as one nation. He said they would gain nothing from becoming one again with Samoa.
Samoa, he said, has its own self interest in the relationship between the nations because American Samoa’s benefit also benefit Samoa.
Tuilaepa made reference to the Pacific Island Leaders Forum to be held in Apia this year encouraging American Samoa to be a member.
“It would be nice to have them apply to be a member by then,” he explained.
“At the moment, there are 18 islands including New Caledonia and Tahiti that are members and if we have American Samoa included, that would make it 19.
“The importance of having the numbers is so the world can hear us when it comes to critical issues concerning peace and the economy.”
Tuilaepa said it would be another milestone if American Samoa ends up becoming independent.
He pointed out that it would make Samoa’s voice louder in the United Nations circles.