NATO prolonged Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s tenure by another year, on Tuesday. The move has been taken to have a leadership of an experienced person rather than wasting time and being uncertain about a successor at a time when the Russia-Ukraine war can spill in NATO’s region.
Stoltenberg has been the leader of the transatlantic security alliance since 2014 before which he was Norway’s Prime Minister. This is the fourth time that he has been given extension in the organization.
Former senior NATO official Jamie Shea said, “NATO member states have decided logically enough that the best secretary general currently on the marketplace is the one they already have. Experience matters especially at one of the most testing times in NATO’s history.”
His continuity as Secretary General of an organization marks a phase in which it is in constant fear of a direct conflict between NATO and Russian forces. On one hand NATO, with its 31 members, is facing challenges while supporting Ukraine and on the other it is required to avoid a potential war.
64-year-old Stoltenberg’s image is that of a firm leader who wisely builds consensus. The decision of extending his tenure has been taken a week before a NATO summit in Lithuania. His tenure has been extended till October 1, 2024.
He said, “The transatlantic bond between Europe and North America has ensured our freedom and security for nearly 75 years, and in a more dangerous world, our Alliance is more important than ever.”
US President Joe Biden and other leaders of member nations welcomed the decision. In a statement on his leadership, Biden said, “With his steady leadership, experience, and judgment, Secretary General Stoltenberg has brought our Alliance through the most significant challenges in European security since World War II.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy also extended his wishes to Stoltenberg in a phone call and said he would “look forward to continuing our fruitful cooperation.” On Telegram he said he and Stoltenberg “coordinated our positions” before the Vilnius summit, where Ukraine intends to receive a firm nod assuring it of gaining NATO membership. He added, “Now is the time for powerful decisions and concrete steps in this direction.”
Additionally, Stoltenberg received acclaim for successfully navigating the alliance through intense transatlantic turmoil when Donald Trump was president of the United States and publicly discussed leaving NATO.