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Stoltenberg names Rutte a 'very strong candidate' for next NATO Secretary General

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk June 18, 2024 10:06 PM 1 min read
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg attend a press meeting at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on April 17, 2024. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu via Getty Images)
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NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg endorsed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as his successor for the first time on June 18, describing him as a "very strong candidate."

Stoltenberg was speaking at a press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shortly after news emerged that Slovakia and Hungary announced their support for Rutte's bid.

NATO allies choose the chief of the alliance on the basis of consensus. Twenty-nine NATO members have already backed Rutte as Stoltenberg's successor, with Hungary, Slovakia, and Romania long being the remaining holdouts.

"It's not for me to select my successor," Stoltenberg said, but added that "Rutte is a very strong candidate.

"He has a lot of experience as prime minister, he's a close friend and colleague," Stoltenberg said.

With Romanian President Klaus Iohannis still officially in the running, Bucharest has not yet announced its support for Rutte's candidacy.

Dutch public broadcaster NOS reported that sources confirmed that Iohannis will withdraw "shortly."

Rutte endorsed by Orban as next NATO Secretary General after agreeing to Hungary’s opt-out of Ukraine support
Hungarian Prime Minister endorsed Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s bid to be the next Secretary General of NATO, after Rutte said he supported Budapest opting out of NATO initiatives to support Ukraine, Orban announced on June 18.

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