The Hon. Prime Minister, Samuela ‘Akilisi Pohiva met the United States of America Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Mr Daniel R. Russel yesterday Tuesday 23 February 2016 at the Prime Minister’s Office. Mr Russel was accompanied by the Commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift, the United States Ambassador to Tonga, Her Excellency Judith Beth Cefkin and other United States Government Officials.
The Office of the United States (US) Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs said this high-level trip “demonstrates the United States’ enduring commitment to the Pacific Islands region and the whole-of-government approach to enhancing our bilateral political, economic, and security relations in the Pacific.”
The meeting with the Hon Prime Minister was the start of the two days visit to Tonga, in which, Mr Russel will meet with Tongan Government officials in Nuku’alofa and visit a US AID coastal community adaptation project site at Popua.
The Hon Prime Minister warmly welcomed Mr Russel to Tonga and expressed the Government of Tonga’s gratitude to the United States ongoing support to the Pacific Region, including Tonga.
The trip also underscores continued US support to the issues that are of utmost importance to the Pacific Islands, including climate change, the ocean, maritime security, women’s empowerment, sustainable development, and health. The United States and Tonga have engaged in various activities including Tonga’s contribution to international peace and security in recent years; Partnership Programs; Ship Rider Program; Laptop Non-Immigrant Visa (LNIV) Project and training programs.