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Bush in Riga for NATO Summit


President Bush is in the Latvian capital, Riga, for a NATO summit expected to focus on alliance operations in Afghanistan.

Meeting first with Latvia's president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Mr. Bush thanked Latvia for its support in building democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq. This echoed his earlier comments in neighboring Estonia, where that country's president, Toomas Hendrik Ilves, pledged to work hand-in-hand with the United States in making Afghanistan secure.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a pre-summit seminar in Riga the alliance will prevail against Taleban forces in Afghanistan. He expressed confidence that NATO will be able to begin handing over responsibility to Afghan security forces in 2008. But he also expressed concern about the failure of some member countries to contribute all the troops requested by commanders.

Canada's foreign minister, Peter MacKay, warned that public support for his country's operations in Afghanistan could dissolve if other NATO countries fail to provide troops for operations in Afghanistan's violent south.

Countries such as Germany and France have failed to provide additional troops or restricted operations of their forces to Afghanistan's more peaceful north.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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