President Bush is on his way to Prague, for a NATO summit and ceremonies inviting seven Central and East European countries to join the alliance.
While in the Czech capital, Mr. Bush is expected, both in private meetings and public comments, to present his case for a strong stand on disarming Iraq and discuss the fight against terrorism.
But, National security Adviser Condoleezza Rice says that, while Iraq will be discussed, it will not dominate the summit. She said the planned expansion of NATO to include seven new countries is part of what she called the alliance's "historic transformation" to better respond to the threats of the 21st century.
The two-day summit, beginning late Wednesday, will touch on modernizing NATO's military to deal with changing international threats. Mr. Bush told East European journalists Monday NATO needs to change its military strategy and focus on the true threat it now faces, which he says is global terrorism. He also said he will seek to re-assure Russia that NATO's eastward expansion will not threaten Moscow's security.
In a separate interview Monday, (Eds: with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty), Mr. Bush said he believes the seven countries invited to join NATO will add vigor to the alliance. He said he believes those countries will contribute both militarily and through their love of freedom.
The seven countries being invited to join NATO are Romania, Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovenia and Slovakia. It is only the second time since the end of the Cold War that new countries have been offered membership in the alliance.
Following the NATO summit, Mr. Bush will travel to St. Petersburg, Russia, for a meeting with that country's President Vladimir Putin. Their talks are likely to include the conflict in Russia's breakaway Chechen Republic. He then stops in Lithuania and Romania, before returning home Saturday.