Consensus on new NATO secretary general may be reached in weeks ahead

Consensus on new the NATO secretary general may be reached in the weeks ahead, Ambassador Julianne Smith, U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO, said during an online press briefing, News.Az reports.

“So first and foremost, let me state again how appreciative we are of Jens Stoltenberg’s leadership over 10 years here at NATO Headquarters. What he has done for this Alliance has been nothing short of remarkable. His leadership throughout the 10 years has been impressive. But I would note over the last two years we’ve been especially appreciative and impressed by his leadership during a very complicated period in NATO’s history, obviously, with this major land war that is ongoing in Ukraine,” she said.

Smith noted that Stoltenberg will depart the Alliance later this fall.

“It’s expected early October he’ll be leaving NATO, and as all of you know, we are in the middle. We, all of the 32 ambassadors here inside the NATO Alliance, are in the middle of looking at potential successors. And there are two official candidates. As you know, we have Mark Rutte from the Netherlands and President Iohannis from Romania. There is ongoing debate across the Alliance on the qualifications of both of these very impressive leaders, and we will continue to debate the pros and cons of those two individuals until we reach consensus on one of them, hopefully, in the weeks ahead,” she said.

Smith said there is no information about the exact timing.

“Certainly, we want to reach some resolution on this sooner rather than later. I think at the latest we’d like to see this settled by the Washington Summit. But that’s probably about all I can say at the moment. I think you’re well aware that the U.S. position is that we fully back Mark Rutte as the next Secretary General, but we do have deepest respect for our friend President Iohannis as well and we appreciate him throwing his hat in the ring and wish him all the best as we continue to debate this issue across the Alliance,” she added.


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