Samoa PM calls for regional togetherness

Samoa’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Fiame Naomi Mata’afa believes issues requiring the region’s view should come through the Pacific Islands Forum.

Ms Mata’afa told Talamua Online she was disappointed with the manner regional issues that required regional consultation have been handled recently.

She said recently high level missions have come to the region and pressured ministers for quick meetings, by-passing regional unity.

Samoan PM Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. Picture: Tuisawau Twitter

Samoa fell in the flight path of the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and an agreement was signed between the two nations.

Ms Mata’afa said it was an agreement that will help Samoa set up a forensic lab for its police force.

Samoa was also part of the virtual meeting which Mr Wang held with Pacific nations. In that China proposed the ‘China-Pacific Island Countries Common Development Vision’.

It is described as a blueprint for multilateral co-operation between China and Pacific island countries in a wide range of issues including policing, security, cyber security, trade and climate change.

Samoan PM Fiame Naomi Mata’afa being sworn in. Picture: Peres Twitter

“We have not made a decision as we did not have enough time to look at it,” Ms Mata’afa explained.

She said she prefers a regional position of the ministers of foreign affairs and believes the ministers should meet to look at the proposal closely.

The PM is pushing for the Pacific block of 19 nations as the only way for their combined voice to be heard on the international stage.

According to Ms Mata’afa, big powers were making individual approaches.

“But we think as a region; and if they make individual approaches, it’s important that we have the chance to consult and have a combined voice on the regions position in order to have an impact,” she said.

Samoa’s former PM and Opposition leader Tuila’epa Sailele Maliegaoi and current PM Fiame Naomi Mataafa in parliament earlier. Picture: Lagipoiva Twitter

Ms Mata’afa said Pacific countries needed to stand together as a region as the current geopolitics and power play war wages between the so called super powers.

She talked of bridging the divide with Micronesia caused by the top appointment at the forum.

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“But like our families, we need to come together again as our survival is premised on our togetherness,” said Ms Mata’afa.

She said security concerns such as the one with Solomon Islands must be discussed through the Pacific Islands Forum as there are treaties and guidelines on regional security already in place.

Samoan PM Fiame Naomi Mata’afa. Picture: Tuisawau Twitter

She pointed out the new power groupings such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity that Fiji is reported to have joined.

“So there are times they choose to talk to us and there are times they go on their own,” said Ms Mata’afa .

“We have been in partnership with these major powers for a long time,” said Mata’afa . “What’s new now is that they seem to be seeking support in the Pacific?” she asks.


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