Tuvalu–United States relations

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Tuvalu – United States relations
Map indicating locations of Tuvalu and USA


United States

Tuvalu – United States relations are bilateral relations between Tuvalu and the United States.


Relations were confirmed by the signing of a Treaty of Friendship in 1979, which was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1983, under which the United States renounced prior territorial claims to four Tuvaluan islands (Funafuti, Nukufetau, Nukulaelae and Niulakita) under the Guano Islands Act of 1856.[1]

The Tuvaluan government, the US government, and the governments of other Pacific islands, are parties to South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT). That agreement entered into force in 1988 with the current SPTT agreement expiring on June 14, 2013.[2]


There are disagreements between the two countries over the issues of climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. The main point of friction between Tuvalu and the United States has been the latter's non-ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Tuvalu is suffering severe environmental damage due to climate change, and has repeatedly urged the United States to do more to reduce its pollution levels. In 2002, Tuvaluan Prime Minister Koloa Talake threatened to take the United States to the International Court of Justice for its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.[3] He was prevented from doing so by his subsequent defeat in that year's general election. More recently, in 2007, Tuvalu's Deputy Prime Minister Tavau Teli called upon all countries to "make an effort to reduce their emissions before it is too late for countries like Tuvalu".[4]

On other matters, Tuvalu supports American positions very often, such as human rights. Tuvalu participates in the preparation of reports prepared by the U.S. Department of State entitled "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices",[5] which are submitted to the U.S Congress by the Department of State in compliance with the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (FAA) and section 504 of the Trade Act of 1974.[6]

Tuvalu is recognised as one of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and participates in the activities of the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) and from this perspective Tuvalu lobbies to achieve development goals that in international forums that may be opposed by the United States. There are many aspects of social and political policy on which Tuvalu maintains a position that is consistent with that of the United States. On 29 September 2013 the Deputy Prime Minister Vete Sakaio stated in his speech to the General Debate of the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, that Tuvalu, maintains a commitment to “multilateralism and genuine collective action to reflect, assess, address and plan ahead our Chartered principles of peace, justice, human rights and social progress and equal opportunity for all.”[7]

Tuvalu recognises the government of Cuba and has publically stated a desire for the U.S. to review its relationship with Cuba. The Deputy Prime Minister Vete Sakaio stated in his 2013 speech to the U.N. that “Tuvalu also fully supports the lifting of the embargos against Cuba. This will allow the Republic of Cuba to further consolidate and enhance its corporation with Small Islands Developing States like Tuvalu.”[7]

Diplomatic missions[edit]

Neither country has a resident ambassador. The United States ambassador to Fiji is accredited to Tuvalu. Tuvalu maintains a diplomatic presence in the United States through its Permanent Mission to the United Nations, in New York.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DOI Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) – FORMERLY DISPUTED ISLANDS". Doi.gov. Retrieved 15 September 2009. 
  2. ^ "South Pacific Tuna Treaty (SPTT)". 1988. Retrieved 2010-09-01. 
  3. ^ "Talake, Luka Tussle For PM In Island Nation Polls", Samisoni Pareti, Pacific Magazine, August 1, 2002
  4. ^ "Tuvalu sinking, cries for help", Fiji Times, September 14, 2007
  5. ^ "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - East Asia and the Pacific". U.S. State Department. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Tuvalu)". U.S. State Department. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  7. ^ a b "Statement Presented by Deputy Prime Minister Honourable Vete Palakua Sakaio". 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly - General Debate. 28 September 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  8. ^ US Department of State

External links[edit]