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Allies welcome Mark Rutte’s appointment as next NATO chief

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Outgoing Dutch prime minister will take over as secretary general of military alliance on Oct. 1

Leaders and politicians on Wednesday welcomed Mark Rutte’s appointment as NATO’s next secretary general.

NATO announced early Wednesday that the outgoing Dutch premier was formally confirmed as chief of the military alliance, replacing Jens Stoltenberg, who has been at its helm for a decade, a tenure extended due to the Ukraine war.

Rutte was the sole candidate after Romanian President Klaus Iohannis withdrew from the race.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak congratulated Rutte, who will take charge on Oct. 1, on his appointment as the 14th NATO chief.

“I am confident you will continue Jens Stoltenberg’s outstanding work in keeping NATO strong and united, as we work to strengthen our collective defence and support Ukraine’s fight for freedom,” he wrote on X.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said the alliance “has rarely been as important as it is today.”

“Your experience, your security policy expertise and your diplomatic skills are in the right place. A good choice for freedom and security,” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron congratulated Rutte’s appointment “at a time when the Alliance is more necessary than ever.”

“Together with Allies, we will continue to defend the security of Europe,” he wrote on X.

Finland’s President Alexander Stubb expressed his “warmest congratulations,” saying Rutte will bring “a wealth of knowledge, experience and networks” to the job.

“In this security environment, the Secretary General is the key player in promoting unity and strength in the Alliance,” added Stubb.

‘Crucial for Alliance during challenging times’

Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nauseda said he looks forward to working together on building an even stronger and more united alliance, enhancing the deterrence and defense of its eastern flank.

“Crucial times for NATO to show strength & leadership,” noted Nauseda.

“Looking forward to close and productive cooperation addressing many challenges, especially defence and deterrence posture of the Alliance in the face of continuing Russia’s agression in Europe,” said Edgars Rinkevics, president of the small Baltic nation of Latvia, which like Lithuania borders Russia.

Petr Fiala, prime minister of the Czech Republic, also congratulated Rutte over his election to the post, saying that he looks forward to “further cooperation, which is more important now than ever.”

Fiala also thanked Stoltenberg for the work he has done “over many years for the security of the world.”

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said Rutte’s “steady hand and long experience will be highly valuable.”

Espen Barth Eide, Norway’s foreign minister, expressed his full confidence and called Rutte’s appointment “excellent news” for the alliance.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson called Rutte an “excellent leader” for a strong and united NATO.

“His leadership and experience will be invaluable in guiding NATO through current and future challenges,” said Hadja Lahbib, the Belgian foreign minister.

Outgoing chief Stoltenberg also wished success to Rutte. “Mark is a true transatlanticist, a strong leader and a consensus-builder,” he said on X.

Charles Michel, European Council president, congratulated Rutte and said that EU-NATO cooperation has been the cornerstone of Euro-Atlantic security for 75 years.

“I look forward to working with you to strengthen our cooperation, beef up our defence readiness, and increase our capabilities to confront rising threats and security challenges,” he wrote on X.

Ursula von der Leyen, EU Commission president, said Rutte’s leadership and experience will be “crucial for the Alliance during these challenging times.”

“I trust that your commitment to EU defence & EU-NATO cooperation will further boost our strategic partnership. EU-NATO common work is a pillar for European & Transatlantic security,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Following the announcement, Rutte said: “It is a tremendous honour to be appointed Secretary-General of NATO. The Alliance is and will remain the cornerstone of our collective security.”

Source: TRT World

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