Norway's former PM Jens Stoltenberg named new NATO secretary-general
BRUSSELS - Agence France-Presse / Reuters
Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg answers a question from the audience following his speech at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University Sept. 25, 2013. REUTERS PhotoFormer Norwegian premier Jens Stoltenberg was named the next NATO chief on March 28, taking over from current secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the alliance said.
"Mr. Stoltenberg will assume his functions as Secretary General as from 1 October 2014, when Mr. Fogh Rasmussen's term expires after 5 years and 2 months at the helm of the Alliance."
Stoltenberg, who served for nearly 10 years in total as Norway's prime minister before losing power in elections last September, was backed by the United States, NATO's dominant power, and Germany. British Prime Minister David Cameron said on March 26 that he also backed Stoltenberg.
Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister who took office in 2009, is due to step down at the end of September after a Sept. 4-5 NATO summit in Wales which will mark almost the end of NATO's combat mission in Afghanistan.
Stoltenberg will take over at a time when NATO, seen by some as a Cold War relic, has gained new relevance because of Russia's occupation and annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region.
NATO foreign ministers are expected to discuss at a meeting next week how they can reinforce NATO's military presence in eastern European countries such as the Baltics and Poland which are nervous about heightened tensions with Russia.