President Bush sits down at the White House Wednesday with NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

The meeting comes as U.S. and European officials try to patch up relations strained by differences over the Iraq war. In a statement Tuesday, the White House said NATO - the North Atlantic Treaty Organization - remains a cornerstone of U.S. security and the foundation of America's alliance with Europe.

 Also Tuesday, French President Jacques Chirac phoned Mr. Bush to congratulate him on his re-election and discuss trans-Atlantic ties. A spokesman says the French president told Mr. Bush that he looked forward to pursuing "constructive and friendly relations."

NATO countries France and Germany have made it clear they will not send troops to help stabilize Iraq. However, NATO has begun a training course for senior Iraqi security officers.