President Bush has repeated U.S. support for future NATO expansion.
Speaking in advance of a NATO summit in the Latvian Capital, Riga, Mr. Bush named future candidates such as Croatia, Ukraine and Georgia. He pledged eventual entry to all European democracies that want to be part of NATO.
The U.S. president said building ties between the alliance and Russia will expand security in Europe. He also expressed concern over continued repression in Belarus, which he said offends the conscience of Europe.
The Riga summit is expected to focus on plans for alliance operations in Afghanistan. The president praised NATO states and partner nations for their support to the struggle against Taleban forces and stressed the need for all alliance members to contribute required troops and equipment.
Earlier, in meetings with the presidents of Latvia, Vaira Vicke-Freiberga, and Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Mr. Bush thanked them for the support of their countries in building democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.