America congratulates Fiame

The United States of America has congratulated Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataafa on her historic election win as the nation's first female Prime Minister.

The official “Election of Fiame Naomi Mata’afa as Prime Minister of Samoa” statement from the U.S. Department of State was issued on Tuesday morning, the day after former Prime Minister Tuila’epa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi finally conceded.

The brief statement, composed of three sentences, is signed by Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State, Ned Price.

Mr. Price, a former NBC News analyst and contributor and lecturer at Georgetown University, serves under the leadership of the 71st Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The United States looks forward to working with Fiame, he said.

Samoa’s former Prime Minister Tuila’epa was thanked for his “friendship.” 

“The United States congratulates Fiame Naomi Mata’afa on her historic victory to become Samoa’s first female prime minister,” Mr. Price said.

“We look forward to working with Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa and Samoa’s new government.  The United States thanks former Prime Minister for his longstanding friendship.”
The statement is published on the official website of the U.S. Department of State.

Mr. Price graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and received a Master’s from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. 

Prior to his time at the White House, he was at the Central Intelligence Agency, where he was a senior analyst and Spokesperson.

In May, Mr. Price commented on the “aftermath” of the 9 April General Election in a tweet.

He called on all of Samoa’s leaders to respect democratic processes and uphold the rule of law. 

“In the aftermath of the general election in Samoa, the United States calls on Samoa’s leaders to respect democratic processes and uphold the rule of law. We urge the people of Samoa to resolve their differences peacefully,” Mr. Price said.

In mid-July, U.S. President Joe Biden nominated former U.S. Congressman Tom Udall for U.S. Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, a post that has been vacant since December 2020.

Mr. Udall, an attorney, served New Mexico in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1999 to 2009 and in the U.S. Senate from 2009 to 2021.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, he will succeed Scott Brown who served in the diplomatic post during former U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s administration. 

“Tom Udall is a terrific guy, good friend and great pick by the President of the United States to be the next ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa,” Mr. Brown said in a tweet.

Kevin Covert, Chargé d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in New Zealand said on Twitter, he “is very excited about the future of relations!”

“Fa’amalo (congratulations) to the newly-elected P.M. of Samoa, Honourable Fiame Naomi Mata’afa! And heartfelt congratulations to the people of Samoa on a historic, peaceful, democratic election,” Mr. Covert said.

Last week he met with Samoa’s High Commissioner to New Zealand Leasi Scanlan.

The meeting included U.S. Defense Attaché Colonel Ian Murray and Chief James Moore with the Office of Defense Cooperation.

“I had the pleasure to meet with Samoan High Commissioner Leasi Scanlan to discuss future opportunities between [the U.S.] Department of Defense and Samoa,” said Mr. Covert.

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