March 23, 2023

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NATO leaders agreed Thursday to extend the term of Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, the alliance’s top civilian official, opting for steady hands and continuity in leadership rather than searching for a successor while Russia wages war in Ukraine.

As reported by POLITICO on Wednesday, consensus had been building among allied leaders to ask the former Norwegian prime minister to stay on, even though he already had lined up a new job as head of his country’s central bank.

Stoltenberg’s term is now extended until Sept. 30, 2023. The decision was made unanimously at an emergency leaders’ summit at NATO headquarters to discuss the war in Ukraine.

Leaders had been expected to name a new secretary-general by the end of June, when they are scheduled to gather for a summit in Madrid.

Stoltenberg’s current term was set to end on Sept. 30. But Russian President Vladimir Putin’s wide-scale invasion of Ukraine has confronted the alliance with its gravest threat in the post-Cold War period.

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