US lifts ban on visiting warships


AucklandThe United States has lifted a ban on visits by New Zealand warships to US defence and coast guard bases around the world, further thawing relations after a 26-year stand-off on nuclear issues.

US defence secretary Leon Panetta made the announcement during a visit to New Zealand yesterday. He said Washington would lift restrictions on military exercises and facilitate talks with New Zealand even though Wellington maintains its long-held nuclear-free stance.

For the first time since the suspension of the ANZUS Treaty in 1986, Washington will allow individual visits by royal New Zealand navy ships to US department of defence or coast guard facilities in the United States and around the world, Panetta said.

– (Reuters)