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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, January 10, 2010

Clinton’s Pacific itinerary criticized

Associated Press

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa — Eni Faleomavaega, American Samoa’s nonvoting delegate to Congress, said he is disappointed Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton won’t be meeting with the leaders of some 15 island nations when she travels to the Pacific this week.

Faleomavaega said that the island nations are being ignored and marginalized.
Clinton was to stop in Hawaiçi on Tuesday before traveling on to Papua-New Guinea, New Zealand and Australia.
“For years, I have been outspoken about U.S. foreign policy toward the Pacific region because the only real foreign policy that the U.S. has with the Pacific is with New Zealand and Australia,” Faleomavaega said.
“My point is underscored by the fact that Secretary Clinton will be meeting with Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea while excluding some 15 Pacific Island leaders who could have gathered in one location to meet her,” he said.
Faleomavaega said most administrations have disregarded the needs and concerns of Pacific island nations.
“But, considering that President (Barack) Obama was born and raised in Hawaiçi and understands the challenges and needs of the community, I thought these small island nations, however small, would finally be given the time, consideration and respect they deserve,” said Faleomavaega, chairman of the U.S. House subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific and the Global Environment.