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Audio + Images: Condoleezza Rice Says NZ An Ally

Scoop Audio + Images: Condoleezza Rice Says NZ Now An Ally

Images by Selwyn Manning

United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said Saturday that New Zealand is now a friend and an ally. That is another step up from the 'New Zealand is a very very close friend of the United States' that its President George W Bush referred to in 2007.

Dr Rice's comment followed a question from the New Zealand media contingent at a press conference held immediately after a bilateral meeting between Ms Rice and Prime Minister Helen Clark.

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Dr Rice's comment fell short of indicating a reconnection of military ties, and she did not indicate that the thaw in US-NZ relations would mean a new alliance to replace the long-since-dead ANZUS alliance.

However, Dr Rice did acknowledged the contribution New Zealand defence troops have been making to the United States led mission in Afghanistan. She also highlighted New Zealand's role on the six nation talks designed to curb North Korea's nuclear programme and hinted that New Zealand's anti-nuclear message also could assist in preventing the spread of nuclear weapons and development in the Middle East – a clear reference to the Iran-Israel-USA stand-off.

Condoleezza Rice arrived in New Zealand Friday night and leaves for the Pacific nation Samoa on Sunday.

Below: are images and full audio coverage of this press conference.

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