George Bush has made an assertive stand in favour of further NATO expansion at the first ever alliance summit to be held in the former Soviet Union. Speaking in Latvia ahead of the two day meeting, Bush promised to continue supporting Georgia’s bid for NATO membership, despite the tensions it has caused with Russia.
And the US President also gave encouragement to Ukraine should its people choose to follow the same path. “Georgia is seeking NATO membership as well and as it continues on the path of reform we will continue to support Georgia’s desire to become a NATO ally. We’re also supporting the leaders of Ukraine as they work to curb corruption, promote the rule of law and serve the cause of peace.”
A central issue at the Riga summit will be the re-deployment of the 32,000 strong NATO force in Afghanistan. Two more soldiers were killed on Tuesday and the reluctance of some allies to allow their troops to be moved into the more dangerous southern combat zone has caused tensions within the alliance – with Britain, Canada and the Netherlands claiming they’re being made to carry an unfair share of the fighting burden.