Despite committing themselves to go to its aid in the wake of last week's attacks, the United States' allies in NATO are split as to whether to take part militarily in any US reprisals.
Britain and Germany have clearly said they are ready to contribute soldiers if Washington asks them to.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has declared ‘war on terrorism’, left no doubt on Monday about London's participating, and he has already put at Washington's disposal British land and naval air forces.
He had earlier specified, however, that Britain did not intend to give a ‘blank check’ to the United States.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had not ruled out German participation, but at the same time he warned against an exclusively military response, calling for the implementation of political and diplomatic means.
Italy, on the other hand, has rejected sending soldiers.
“Italian soldiers will not go”, Italian defence minister Antonio Martino said. And Greece, too, does not appear to favour a role for its troops, according to the defence ministry in Athens.
Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Guterres warned against any bellicose action against imaginary enemies.
Only a day after the September 11 attacks in New York and Washington, ambassadors from all 19 NATO member countries agreed in Brussels to invoke for the first time Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty.