Rasmussen to stay longer as NATO chief for summit preparations

Photo: Rasmussen to stay longer as NATO chief for summit preparations / NATO

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen will remain in his post for an extra two months so that he can oversee the military alliance's next summit, member states decided Wednesday.

The 60-year-old former Danish prime minister has led NATO since August 2009. His term was due to end on July 31, after already having been extended once by a year, dpa reported.

NATO ambassadors "decided to extend the secretary general's tenure of office to enable him to prepare and preside the NATO summit, which will take place in south Wales on September 4-5," the alliance announced in a statement.

Rasmussen "thanked the nations and accepted this offer to extend his tenure until September 30," it added.

Britain will be hosting the NATO summit for the first time since the Cold War ended in 1990. It is expected to mark the end of the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan, among other things.

Several European politicians have already been tipped as potential successors to Rasmussen. They include Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, Belgian Defence Minister Pieter De Crem and German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere.

Rumours have also been circling around outgoing European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, while former Italian foreign minister Franco Frattini has made no secret of his interest in the post.

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