Norwegian Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg may be open to staying in post

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Norwegian Nato chief Jens Stoltenberg may be open to staying in post
Jens Stoltenberg speaks to the press in Brussels on Thursday. Photo: Nato

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that it is up to the alliance's member states whether to keep him into the role after his current contract expires in September, indicating that he may now be open to staying on.


"I am responsible for all decisions that this alliance has to take except for one. And that is about my future. That is for the 31 allies to decide," Stoltenberg, who served as Norway's Prime Minister for eight years before taking the post, said on Thursday at the alliance's Brussels headquarters. 

Stoltenberg has previously said he would like to return to Norway when his current contract is complete in September, ending nine years in the job. 

"The mandate of Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has been extended three times, and he has served for a total of almost nine years," Nato spokesperson Oana Lungescu said in February, stressing that "he has no intention to seek another extension of his mandate". 

Denmark's prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, who has been mooted as a potential successor, said she was not planning on replacing Stoltenberg in September and would ideally like him to continue. 

"Absolutely. I think Stoltenberg has been excellent - quite simply - at the head of Nato," she said at the Folkemødet political festival on the Danish island of Bornholm. "If we can get him to continue, I think it would be a really, really good solution."


At the same festival, Denmark's foreign minister, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, drew attention to Stoltenberg's statement. 

"If he has changes his plans, I think that is positive," he said. "Changing horses in mid stream is not always necessarily a good idea, unless it is a very tired horse. And Jens Stoltenberg is not tired."



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