The Pacific is important to the United States of America and Samoa being a key player in the region is not lost on the United States.
It is in that spirit the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Daniel Russel, Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift and U.S. Coast Guard, Vincent Atkins, visited Samoa on Monday.
They met with Samoan government officials and Civil Society representatives, highlighting the United State’s commitment to the Pacific Islands region with a focus to enhance bilateral political, economic, and security relations.
During an exclusive interview with the Sunday Samoan, Mr. Russel said the United States prioritizes dealing with the threat of global warming and protecting the environment when it comes to their work in the Pacific.
“More broadly, we have big interest in protecting the ocean,” he said.
“Both the United States and Samoa are Pacific states and neither of us can flourish without ensuring that the ocean as well as the resources in the ocean are managed in a sustainable and respectful way.”
Asked about the differences between the Pacific and the U.S in terms of the tuna industry, Mr. Russel said the countries are in discussion, looking for a way forward.
The said the treaty needs to be responsive to the reality of commercial markets and ensure that citizens of the Pacific are treated fairly.
“We want fishing more broadly to be conducted in a responsible and lawful way,” he said.
“None of us can allow what is an effect of piracy and unregulated fishing boats to steal the treasures from the sea and sell it outside a transparent regulated system. We don’t want that and helping to look out for the interest of all citizens of the Pacific and all consumers in the world is a huge part of the job.”
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Matthew Matthews said the U.S. had actually submitted paper works to withdraw from the treaty.
He said if a two part solution can be worked out the treaty might continue.
Those solutions need to be economically viable for U.S fishing fleets and secondly looking at ways to adjust the treaty to make it workable in the long term.
The U.S. also provides support in protecting maritime.
Rear Admiral, U.S. Coast Guard, Atkins said the U.S assists Samoa and other pacific islands in protecting fisheries stocks with an agreement that allows United States Pacific fleet and Pacific coast guards to provide expertise to monitor illegal fishing.
Mr. Atkins said what the agreement does, it prevents the speeding of illegal fishing where the authority enforces laws of Samoa.
With the election in less than a week, the Deputy Secretary also acknowledged a common value shared by U.S and Samoa which is democracy.
Mr. Russel believes that with the ruling party and opposition revealing their manifesto means that there is no doubt that the election is driven by issues.
He added it was a good thing and U.S. will stand ready to work as partner to any country or people who themselves seek to strengthen the democratic institution of government and to protect universal and human rights.