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Election of NATO Secretary General

Jun 18, 2024

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has promised Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that during his tenure the country will have the right to refuse to participate in NATO events in support of Ukraine that take place outside the territory of the Alliance, the Financial Times reports, citing sources.


The two met on June 17 on the sidelines of EU leaders in Brussels, raising hopes that Budapest's veto of Rutte's appointment as NATO secretary general, which requires unanimity among allies, could soon be lifted.

Rutte's spokesman said he and Orban had a "good conversation" and mainly discussed the results of last week's meeting between NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Hungarian prime minister.

"Prime Minister Rutte will confirm in writing to Prime Minister Orban what they discussed. It was a good and open conversation, and both agreed to focus on the future," the NATO spokesman added.

At the same time, a representative of the Hungarian government declined to comment.

According to one of the interlocutors, during the meeting, Rutte did not apologize for his previous statements about Orban at summits in Brussels.

It is noted that Rutte's candidacy for the post of NATO Secretary General is supported by 29 of the 32 NATO member states, but Orban has blocked this step.

Last week, Stoltenberg told Orban that Hungary could withdraw from NATO measures in support of Ukraine, such as the Alliance's plan to tighten controls over military supplies to Kyiv and training of Ukrainian troops, as well as long-term financial support.

"I think it's a good decision that will allow us to move forward with more support for Ukraine within NATO without Hungary blocking us," Stoltenberg said at the time.

At the same time, Rutte said that the planned new government of the Netherlands, which will include his liberal party as well as far-right leader Geert Wilders, will continue to support Ukraine.

"As far as foreign policy is concerned, the new cabinet will fully continue the course to Europe and NATO with Ukraine... There will be no changes," he said.

Author - Ihor Lontkivskyi 18.06.24

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