Auckland, New Zealand – After a 25-year ban, America will begin allowing Royal New Zealand Navy ships to visit U.S. military and Coast Guard facilities around the world, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today.
He said the U.S. also was removing restrictions to make it easier for the two militaries to engage in exercises and for leaders to hold security discussions as the U.S. refocuses attention on the Asia-Pacific region.
“While we acknowledge that our countries continue to have differences of opinion in some limited areas, today we have affirmed that we are embarking on a new course in our relationship that will not let those differences stand in the way of greater engagement on security issues,” Panetta said.
He spoke during a news conference at the Government House with New Zealand Defense Minister Jonathan Coleman.
New Zealand banned nuclear weapons from the country 25 years ago so U.S. warships have not been able to enter its ports, and New Zealand ships were not allowed in U.S. military or Coast Guard ports.
The New Zealand minister, however, said his country’s ban on nuclear warships will continue. But he said the U.S. has accepted that and the two countries have moved on.
Tunisia moves against protests
TUNIS, Tunisia – Tunisia’s government has banned any protests today against a French satirical weekly’s publication of lewd, crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Interior Minister Ali Larayedh told Tunisian radio that authorities sensed that some groups were planning to pillage and carry out violence after weekly communal prayers at mosques today.
“To repel any risk and in the interest of preserving the security of people, property and our foreign guests, we have decided to forbid any demonstration in the country,” the minister told Shems FM.
Wednesday’s publication of the cartoons by Charlie Hebdo weekly has raised concerns that French interests could face violent protests like the ones targeting the U.S. over an amateur video produced in California that mocked Muhammad.