By Jon Ward
The Washington Times
March 31, 2008
French commitments to send 1,000 additional soldiers to Afghanistan may be conditional on U.S. support for the European Union’s defense plan that some say will shift power away from U.S. and British interests.
President Bush leaves this morning for a six-day trip to Eastern Europe and Russia, with an itinerary built around a two-day NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania.
NATO’s mission in Afghanistan is at the top of the agenda, but delegates also will discuss the acceptance of three new members: Albania, Croatia and Macedonia.
The 26 NATO members also will vote on whether to allow Georgia and Ukraine to begin the membership process. Russia’s opposition to the move promises to cast a long shadow on the summit.
Mr. Bush will end his trip with a stop in the Russian coastal resort of Sochi, where he will meet with President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev to discuss missile defense and other issues.