Hungary rejects Rutte's candidacy for NATO Secretary General, supports Iohannis instead — Szijjártó

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó

Budapest will not support the appointment of Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as NATO Secretary General because he "called for bringing Hungary to its knees," Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó reiterated on March 15, according to Romanian outlet Agerpres.

"We are certainly not going to support Mark Rutte's candidacy," Szijjártó said.

“We will not support him! How can we support a man who has previously stated that Hungary should be brought to its knees? In an alliance like NATO, where nothing is more important than mutual trust because if someone is attacked, others must defend them, in an alliance based on trust, we cannot support a person who wants to bring us to our knees.”

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Budapest will, however, support the candidacy of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Hungary’s top diplomat said.

"We are glad that we finally have a candidate from Central Europe," said Szijjártó.

“NATO has never had a candidate from Central Europe before, and now we have a candidate, and this is good news. We do not know what will come of it, what the result will be.”

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Klaus Johannis announced on March 12 that he will run for NATO chief.

Politico reported in early November 2023 that Rutte was the favorite for the post. Rutte declared his interest in the post in late October.

Latvian Foreign Minister Krišjānis Karinš also announced his readiness to run for the post of NATO chief, and shortly therafter, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas made a similar statement.

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