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5 Jun, 2023 03:08

UK wants hardliner Wallace as new NATO chief – media

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak reportedly plans to lobby for his defense secretary during a trip to Washington
UK wants hardliner Wallace as new NATO chief – media

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will “encourage” US President Joe Biden to endorse the current UK defense secretary, Ben Wallace, as NATO’s next secretary-general, The Telegraph reported on Sunday. Wallace has previously expressed interest in leading the Western military bloc.

Sunak will meet Biden at the White House on Thursday. According to Biden’s spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, the two leaders will discuss a wide range of topics, including support for Ukraine, energy security, and trade relations. 

Wallace has advocated harsh sanctions against Moscow and has been among the strongest proponents of supplying advanced weapons to Kiev.

During his tenure as defense secretary, the UK became the first nation to offer modern heavy tanks to Ukraine and recently delivered Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles to Ukrainian troops.

Although Wallace has not publicly confirmed his intention to apply for NATO’s top position, he has told the media that it would be a “fantastic” job. 

NATO’s current secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, had his four-year term extended for another year in March 2022 due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, but will step down on September 30, 2023. The Norwegian said earlier this year that he would not seek a further extension.

The secretary-general is chosen through “informal diplomatic consultations” among the bloc’s 31 members, according to NATO’s website.