NATO extends Stoltenberg’s mandate in move welcomed by Ukraine

The NATO chief has been leading the world’s largest military alliance since 2014.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference, ahead of a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Monday, April 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is seen as a steady leader by his supporters [Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP]

NATO has decided to extend Secretar-General Jens Stoltenberg’s contract by another year, seeking to stick with an experienced leader to lead the military alliance, amid Russia’s raging war in Ukraine.

The NATO chief, a former prime minister of Norway, has led the alliance since 2014. His current term in office was due to expire on October 1. He has already had his tenure extended three previous times.

The news of his latest extension comes a week before the alliance’s annual summit, which is due to take place in Vilnius, Lithuania, this year.

Stoltenberg welcomed the NATO members’ decision in a tweet, writing, “The transatlantic bond between Europe & North America has ensured our freedom & security for nearly 75 years, and in a more dangerous world, our Alliance is more important than ever.”

The 64-year-old is viewed by his supporters as a reliable figure who has played a key role in building consensus across the alliance.

US President Joe Biden said in a statement that Stoltenberg’s “steady leadership, experience and judgement” has helped the alliance wade through some of the most “significant challenges in European security since World War II”.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the news, saying “NATO has evolved to meet new threats, continued to protect our people and has been steadfast in support of Ukraine.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine, which hopes to join the alliance, said the Norwegian’s support has been important.

“Excellent news … Tough times demand strong leadership. Jens Stoltenberg has demonstrated just that. I look forward to furthering our cooperation,” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Twitter.


Stoltenberg will continue his tenure until October 1 next year.

His next tasks include overseeing the transformation of NATO forces to refocus on defending against any possible Russian attack, and concentrating on missions beyond its borders, such as in Afghanistan, the Balkans and the South China Sea.

Source: News Agencies