In talks with Prodi and Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema, de Hoop Scheffer is expected to ask Italy to take an increased role in NATO's force in Afghanistan, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Pasquale Terracciano.
D'Alema, who is completing plans to pull out of Iraq, has indicated the government intends to stay in Afghanistan. Foreign Undersecretary Gianni Vernetti said recently that Italy's mission there could be expanded to possibly include customs control and to contribute to the fight against drugs, the AP reports.
Italy's current and future role in Iraq and other troubled areas, including the Balkans and Sudan's Darfur region, will also be discussed in Friday's meeting, Terracciano said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his speech dedicated to the Day of the Russian Navy, recalled the threats that Russia is currently facing from a number of countries.