NATO allies select Mark Rutte as next secretary general

Mark Rutte has been officially nominated as NATO's next secretary general. The outgoing Dutch prime minister will take over from Jens Stoltenberg on 1 October, NATO announced on Wednesday.

"It is a great honour to be appointed secretary-general of NATO," Rutte wrote on X. "The Alliance is and will remain the cornerstone of our common security. Leading it is a responsibility I do not take lightly. I thank all Allies for their confidence."

The ambassadors of NATO's 32 member states formally approved the appointment on Wednesday, a spokesperson said. Rutte's appointment was already a done deal as all member states had expressed their support for him.

"The Alliance is and will remain the cornerstone of our common security. Leading it is a responsibility I do not take lightly"

It is still unclear whether Rutte will appear at the NATO summit in Washington in two weeks' time. NATO diplomats point out that Stoltenberg attended a summit 10 years ago as an incoming secretary general.

At the summit, the alliance will bid farewell to Stoltenberg, who has stayed in post much longer than originally planned. Allies had repeatedly asked him to stay, valuing his experience and calm at a time of heightened tensions with Russia. But Stoltenberg also stayed on because no convincing successor emerged. The alliance now believes it has found one.

Fourth Dutch NATO chief

"I am very happy with NATO's choice of Mark Rutte as my successor," Stoltenberg said on social media. "I wish him well as we move forward to make NATO fit for the challenges of today and tomorrow. I know I leave NATO in good hands."

Rutte, 57, is the fourth Dutchman to lead the Western military alliance. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who stepped down in 2009, was the last. No other country has had as many.

The fact that Rutte is another Western European to lead NATO has not been as much of a problem for the alliance as expected. But NATO ambassadors say he should bear the issue in mind as he assembles his staff.



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