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NATO Leaders Prepare for Final Day of Summit


The situation in Afghanistan is expected to top the agenda during the second and final day of the NATO summit in the Latvian capital of Riga Wednesday.

President Bush and the other leaders of the 26-member security alliance discussed NATO's mission in the Muslim country Tuesday night during a working dinner. A NATO spokesman says a handful of nations have pledged to send more forces to Afghanistan, but declined to name them.

But several countries are still refusing to either provide more troops or loosen restrictions on where their troops will be deployed. Germany, France, Spain and Italy are among those nations who are refusing calls to deploy their forces into southern Afghanistan, where resurgent Taleban and al-Qaida forces have established a stronghold.

Mr. Bush urged the allies to provide more troops for the struggle as the NATO summit opened Tuesday.

In addition to Afghanistan, the NATO leaders will also discuss expanding the 57-year-old alliance. News reports say Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia may be invited to join NATO's Partnership for Peace, a precursor to full membership.

Other issues on Wednesday's agenda include a program to train military forces in the Middle East in counterterrorism and peacekeeping operations, and expand NATO cooperation with non-members. Japan, Australia, South Korea, Sweden and Finland will be invited to train more closely with NATO forces, including special operations forces.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters