NATO allies extended on Thursday Jens Stoltenberg’s term as secretary-general until late 2022, putting the former Norwegian prime minister on course to become one of the Western military alliance’s longest-serving leaders.
Stoltenberg, 60, who took up the post on Oct 1, 2014, will now step down two years later than planned on Sept. 30, 2022, after having already been extended once already, Reuters reports.
Stoltenberg is popular with allies, particularly U.S. President Donald Trump, who credits him with helping increase European defense spending, diplomats have said.
“Allies expressed their support for the secretary general’s work to adapt and modernize NATO and ensure it remains fit for the future,” NATO’s 29 government said in a statement.
Honoured by the decision by the #NATO Allies to extend my term as Secretary General until 30 September 2022. Together we will continue to adapt & modernise our Alliance to keep it fit for the future: https://t.co/ybBwSDOy6zpic.twitter.com/K5CIiqRYjl— Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) March 28, 2019
NATO, once seen by some as a Cold War relic, has also gained new relevance as the West confronts a resurgent Russia, state-sponsored computer hackers, security threats on its borders and militant attacks on European cities.
If he completes his term as the alliance’s top civilian, Stoltenberg will be the second longest-serving NATO chief, after former Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Joseph Luns was in the job from October 1971 to May 1984.
"Honoured by the decision by the #NATO Allies to extend my term as Secretary General until 30 September 2022. Together we will continue to adapt & modernise our Alliance to keep it fit for the future," Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.