Merkel: NATO to Pick New Chief Friday Evening

Politics » DIPLOMACY | April 3, 2009, Friday // 18:58| Views: | Comments: 0

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she expected NATO to choose a new secretary general as early as Friday evening, DPA reported.

"We want to establish the succession this evening," Merkel told journalists in Baden-Baden ahead of a meeting in the German city with US President Barack Obama.

Earlier in the day it emerged that Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen has officially declared his bid to become NATO's next secretary general.

Rasmussen, Denmark's premier since 2001, is reported to have the backing of France, Germany and Britain, following a private agreement between the leaders of the four countries. The US is also believed to back Rasmussen to be the next secretary general of NATO.

Turkey, however, looks "negatively" on Rasmussen because of his defense of Danish newspaper cartoons lampooning Islam in 2005.

Solomon Passy is Bulgaria's candidate to be the next Secretary-General of NATO. Passy is former foreign minister and current head of the parliamentary foreign affairs commission.

While both Rasmussen and Passy are seen as pro-American politicians, Rasmussen is believed to stand for the pro-Americans part of Western Europe, whereas Passy would stand for Eastern Europe's interests within the Alliance.

The current secretary general, Dutch diplomat Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, steps down at the end of July. 

 

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