Ex-Norway PM Becomes New NATO Chief

Ex-Norway PM Becomes New NATO ChiefEx-Norway PM Becomes New NATO Chief

NATO welcomed its 13th secretary general on Wednesday. Jens Stoltenberg, a former two-term prime minister of Norway, succeeds Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who had been the alliance’s top leader since 2009, Deutsche Welle reported.

The defense readiness of NATO’s members has become a major issue this year amid armed conflicts. Not only has fighting in North Africa and Syria put bordering member states – including Turkey - on alert, but also the conflict in Ukraine.

Stoltenberg is the first NATO chief to hail from a country which shares a border with Russia. He is known for his good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, having signed a number of milestone agreements with them during his decade-long reign as Norway’s premier.

Former Secretary-General Rasmussen had intended to end his term at the end of July. However, the escalating conflicts prompted him to remain in office until after the NATO summit in Wales earlier last month.