North Atlantic Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is likely to remain in office for another year.
This was reported by RBC-Ukraine with reference to Euractiv.
It was expected that Stoltenberg, who has been heading NATO since October 2014, would resign this fall. However, NATO diplomats told the publication that his mandate is likely to be extended on June 28.
Stoltenberg's term of office has already been extended twice - once for a second full mandate and again in March 2022 - after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
None of the politicians who have been discussed as potential successors to Stoltenberg has yet been able to gain overwhelming support among NATO's 31 members.
Since the appointment of a new NATO chief must be agreed upon by consensus after a non-transparent and complex selection process, no appointment is made without prior political agreement among NATO members, especially the quartet of major allies - France, Germany, Britain, and the United States.
NATO diplomats within the Alliance point to Stoltenberg's proven ability to lead the military alliance in times of crisis.
"It's dangerous to change the captain in the middle of a storm," said one senior NATO official.
The extension gives the Western military alliance more time to focus on its short- and long-term support for Ukraine, instead of getting bogged down in personal debates, NATO diplomats said.
The three NATO diplomats said that if the Ukrainian counteroffensive had begun earlier in the spring, the war could have already reached a turning point and given Kyiv the advantage before the NATO summit in Vilnius in mid-July. That would have left enough time to open the door for a new Alliance leader, but the calendar delay has forced NATO allies to rethink their strategy.
Asked if he wanted to keep the job, Stoltenberg said:
"I am responsible for all the decisions that this Alliance has to make, except for one. And that is about my future. That is for the 31 Allies to decide."-
As Stoltenberg will remain in office until October 1, 2024, the name of the next secretary-general is likely to be part of the merry-go-round of top EU posts after the next European Parliament elections next June.
Author - Serhii Kolomiets, 28/06/2023