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New US-NZ links

WASHINGTON - The US said it was upgrading contacts with New Zealand, restricted seven years ago in a dispute over nuclear policy. The announcement on Friday by the State Department stressed that, while the Clinton adminstration has decided to resume senior- level contacts, the step did not mean restoration of US defence obligations to New Zealand.

Since 1987, Washington has restricted political, military and security contacts as a result of New Zealand's adoption of legislation preventing ships and aircraft carrying nuclear material from visiting the country. Because US officials are not prepared to reveal whether nuclear material is being transported, all US military ships and planes were barred. Reuter