U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Tunis Saturday, starting an unannounced tour of three North African countries.
Secretary Rumsfeld says he wants to strengthen U.S. military ties to Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, all of which, he says, have been helpful in the war on terrorism.
Just before leaving Italy, where he attended a NATO meeting, Rumsfeld said, each of the three countries has provided moderate leadership, and been constructive in helping to address problems.
The three countries all receive U.S. military aid as part of the Trans-Sahara Anti-Terrorism initiative, but Secretary Rumsfeld says he is not concerned about terrorist groups trying to use remote regions of the three countries.
"There are certainly places in the world that are attractive for terrorists and terrorist networks. They tend not to be countries like these three," he noted.
He says, terrorists tend to prefer to use countries where the governments are more tolerant toward extremism.