President Bush departs Monday for a foreign trip that will end with a much-anticipated visit to Amman, Jordan, for talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Mr. Bush will first stop in Estonia for a few hours and then head to Latvia, where he'll summit with NATO leaders. The president is expected to press U.S. allies to increase their defense spending in Afghanistan, where NATO troops have been battling a resurgent Taliban. Areas of Afghanistan have become increasingly unstable, and some nations have seemed reluctant to send troops to the southern part of the country, where much of the renewed violence has occurred.
Iraq is also expected to come up for discussion at the NATO meeting. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who will attend the NATO summit, recently held meetings in Jordan. Both Turkey and Jordan border Iraq. Both countries have both expressed concern about the idea of partitioning Iraq, a proposal that has been bounced around on Capitol Hill. Turkish and Jordanian leaders say they worry that partitioning could lead to a new explosion of violence.
The president's trip will culminate with his meeting in Jordan with Prime Minister al-Maliki. The two leaders are expected to discuss plans to give Iraqi forces greater responsibility in security the country.
Their meeting follows a week in which rising bloodshed pushed Iraq closer to all-out civil war.