Nato leaders have made Afghanistan a key priority and opened the door to more countries hoping to join the 26-nation Alliance. Afghanistan is the most dangerous ground mission in Nato’s nearly 60-year history. Closing the summit, the organisation’s Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he had been asked to work on a plan to help rebuild the country: “Heads of state and government have tasked me to forward proposals on the possibility of a Contact Group for Afghanistan.”
The talks also paved the way for Nato enlargement. Bosnia, Serbia and Montenegro were told they would be invited to take the first steps to joining the partnership. Croatia, Macedonia and Albania are expected to be given the green light to join at the next summit in 2008. There was a celebration also in store – for French President Jacques Chirac, who turns 74 today.