WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata recently joined Pacific leaders in the U.S. Capitol for a working luncheon hosted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pacific Islands Forum leaders are in Washington for their meeting with President Biden and other U.S. officials—the first time a Pacific Countries Summit was hosted in Washington, although the first such summit attended by a U.S. President was held in Honolulu in October 1990, where President George H.W. Bush gave concluding remarks. Amata participated in that summit as an adviser to and in support of the U.S. delegation.
“I’m delighted these leaders of our many friends in the Pacific were able to join key Members of Congress today to emphasize their previous efforts in meetings with President Biden and the U.N.,” said Amata. “These are important U.S. partnerships with shared issues ranging from trade to security, and we all seek stability and prosperity throughout the Pacific. I am confident Pacific leaders will go back to their home islands knowing this was a productive trip.”
Amata, who is co-chairman of the Congressional Pacific Islands Caucus, earlier last month also spoke at the Pacific Island Conference of Leaders (PICL), a three-day gathering held at the East-West Center in Honolulu that brought together heads of government of Pacific Islands Forum countries, French, American and New Zealand territories, and the state of Hawaii. These country leaders went on from Honolulu to New York City to speak to the U.N. General Assembly, then to Washington. In her address, she urged leaders to use their unprecedented leverage to hold China accountable on climate change and not to support Russia in its war on Ukraine.
While in Washington recently, Federated States of Micronesia President David Panuelo delivered the Peter Tali Coleman Lecture at the Georgetown University Center for Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Studies, which Amata attended and introduced Panuelo. As a founding member, Coleman was one of the driving forces in the creation of PICL, currently chaired by Panuelo. In recent diplomacy, Panuelo wrote a pivotal letter to his Forum colleagues cautioning against People’s Republic of China efforts to forge a regional security treaty.
Amata continues to support these leaders in their efforts to convey “whole-of-region” views on Pacific issues, while encouraging U.S. commitment and involvement in the region, including the completion of renewed Compacts of Free Association to the shared benefit of the U.S. and the Freely Associated States. (PR)