France and Germany fully endorsed President Obama's new Afghan war strategy but continued to firmly resist U.S. demands for more combat troops on Saturday at the start of NATO's 60th-anniversary summit.
Obama told NATO leaders the alliance should remain open to new members, another stance that is likely to meet resistance from his allies. Germany, France and many other NATO nations believe that any more eastward expansion will further damage ties Russia that the alliance is trying hard to mend.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and two dozen other NATO leaders walked across a bridge separating Germany and France in a moment of unity before the summit began. The leaders met French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the halfway point on the Europa bridge spanning the Rhine river — a symbolic departure from the enmity that once tore apart Europe and a setting aside of current differences, at least for a few minutes.