Clinton pays tribute to New Zealand war dead

Clinton pays tribute to New Zealand war dead
# 05 November 2010 04:46 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton paid tribute Friday to New Zealand’s war dead, a day after inking a declaration symbolically ending a 25-year freeze on military co-operation because of the Pacific country’s anti-nuclear policy, APA reports quoting Earth Times.

She laid a wreath at the National War Memorial in Wellington, laid a single red rose on the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and met US and New Zealand war veterans before flying to Christchurch on the second day of her three-day visit, part of a six-country Asia-Pacific tour.

Clinton’s visit is seen by officials from both countries as ending a quarter century of chilly political and military relations, following the move by the former Labour government, elected in 1984, to pass a law declaring New Zealand nuclear-free.

This barred US nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ships from visiting, and Washington effectively froze New Zealand out of a 1951 defence alliance linking both countries with Australia.

Clinton referred indirectly to the anti-nuclear policy in a speech Thursday at a parliamentary reception: "Naturally, like any friends, we do not always see eye-to-eye on every issue, but our relationship today is stronger and more productive than it has been in 25 years."

She signed the so-called Wellington Declaration committing both nations to a "strategic partnership."

Clinton thanked New Zealand for its contribution of about 230 special forces and civic reconstruction troops in Afghanistan, saying the New Zealanders were making a valuable contribution to stabilizing and rebuilding the war-torn central Asian country.

Clinton visited the US Antarctic Programme Centre in Christchurch and was scheduled to attend an American Chamber of Commerce reception.

She is due to fly Saturday to Australia.