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France names preference for next NATO boss — RT World News

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Prime Minister Gabriel Attal said Paris supports the candidacy of outgoing Dutch leader Mark Rutte

France would like to see outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte at the helm of NATO, French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal has stated. The military bloc’s current secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, is expected to leave office on October 1 when his current mandate, which was extended for one year last July, expires.

His successor will likely be picked during the upcoming NATO summit in Washington in July. While Rutte enjoys the backing of such heavyweights within the organization as the US, UK, and Germany, Hungary has opposed his nomination. The unanimous support of all member states is needed for a candidate to assume the position.

Having served as Dutch prime minister since 2010, Rutte announced his intention to leave the country’s political scene last July and currently remains in a caretaker capacity pending the formation of a new government.

Speaking during a joint press conference with Rutte in The Hague on Wednesday, Attal said: “Obviously, we support Mark Rutte’s candidacy for NATO in view of his experience, his ability to unite very broadly and his ability to act for our collective security.”

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto made it clear that Budapest “certainly can’t support the election of a man to the position of NATO’s secretary general who previously wanted to force Hungary on its knees.”

The diplomat was apparently referring to when Rutte lashed out at the Hungarian government in 2021 over a law prohibiting the exposure of minors to LGBT-themed content.

Rutte argued at the time that such legislation was incompatible with EU values and that Brussels had to “bring Hungary to its knees on this issue.”

Last month, White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told reporters that the “United States has made it clear to our allies, our NATO allies, that we believe Mr. Rutte would be an excellent secretary general for NATO.”

A spokesperson for German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Steffen Hebestreit, also said that Berlin supports the Dutch official’s candidacy, citing Rutte’s “immense experience, his great security policy expertise and his strong diplomatic skills.” The UK made a similar statement.

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