Stoltenberg likely to lead NATO for another year - Lithuanian officials

  • 2023-07-04
  • LETA/BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS - The tenure of Jens Stoltenberg, NATO's current secretary general, is likely to be extended for another year, Lithuanian officials said on Tuesday, a week before the Alliance's summit in Vilnius is set to begin.

"I wouldn't be surprised if it is extended," Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis told the Ziniu Radijas radio station.

"To my knowledge, discussions on a new candidate have been really very difficult. At least I have not heard that a consensus has formed around one or another candidate or even that a larger number of countries support one or another candidate," he said.

Asta Skaisgiryte, President Gitanas Nauseda's chief foreign policy adviser, also told LRT Radio that she would not be surprised "if Stoltenberg is asked to stay in office for another year".

Stoltenberg, at the helm of the Western military alliance since 2014, already had his term extended by a year, until October, in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Several NATO diplomats have confirmed that the Alliance's member states have reached a consensus to prolong his tenure for another year after failing to find a suitable replacement by the July 11-12 summit in Vilnius.

Other potential contenders, including Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, have recently withdrawn from the race.

Diplomats said last Thursday that NATO countries had agreed to extend Stoltenberg's mandate and would make a formal announcement shortly.