NATO picks Mark Rutte as new Secretary General

The outgoing Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, has been formally selected as the next NATO head, the military alliance announced Wednesday. The move comes at a pivotal time as the bloc grapples with supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia.

His appointment comes after Romanian President Klaus Iohannis – his only rival for the position – announced last week that he had withdrawn from the running.

“It is a tremendous honour to be appointed Secretary-General of NATO. The Alliance is and will remain the cornerstone of our collective security,” Rutte said in a post on X Wednesday.

The Dutch leader, 57, stated he was grateful to the NATO allies for placing their trust in him.

“Leading this organization is a responsibility I do not take lightly,” he added.

Rutte is set to start his new position on October 1 when incumbent NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg’s 10-year tenure comes to an end, according to a statement from the alliance.

Commenting on Rutte’s appointment, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out that NATO countries, and the Secretary General in particular, do not make decisions in the alliance because the United States dominates the organization.

“In this structure, not even the member states decide anything, let alone the Secretary General. The Americans run everything,” she stated.

Rutte’s appointment as NATO’s secretary general will not “change anything” for Russia, which still sees the alliance as an enemy, the Kremlin also announced.

“It is unlikely that this choice can change anything in the general line of NATO,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday, adding, “At the moment, this is an alliance that is an enemy for us.”

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