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Obama sends congratulatory message for Samoa Independence Day celebration

U.S. President Barack Obama has sent a congratulatory message to the people of Samoa celebrating today (Saturday in Samoa), the country’s 51st Independence Day, with the opening ceremony this morning at the Malae o Tiafau at the capital of Apia.


Obama’s message was delivered in a letter presented by U.S. Ambassador to Samoa and New Zealand, David Huebner durning a meeting earlier this week with Samoa’s Head of State,  Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi.


“On behalf of the American people, it is with great pleasure that I congratulate you and all Samoans as you celebrate your nation's Independence Day,” Obama wrote in the letter that was released by the U.S. Embassy in Apia.


Obama pointed out that Samoa and the United States have long shared a “warm relationship” and work together closely on many areas of common interest. “Our friendship is founded on a mutual commitment to freedom, peace, democratic ideals, the rule of law, and cooperation on issues such as climate change, health, and conservation of ocean resources,” he said.


Obama also said that the U.S. was pleased to be able to assist Samoa's recovery in the wake of Cyclone Evan  last December and noted that this  “one example of our collaboration.”


“We hope to maintain and strengthen this longstanding relationship between our countries and in the Pacific region in the future. Please accept my best wishes on this important anniversary of your Independence Day,” the President said.


Lt. Gov. Lemanu Peleti Mauga is leading the American Samoa delegation to the Independence celebration. Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga is unable to attend due to graduation season in the territory and this is his first gradation season as chief executive.


KVZK-TV reported last night that the Head of State’s wife had send a special invitation for Lolo’s wife - First Lady Cynthia Moliga - to take part in this year’s Independence Day. Mrs. Moliga is already in Apia for the ceremony.