Estonian PM Kallas signals interest in top NATO job, Politico reports
PHOTO CAPTION: Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas addresses media ahead of a NATO leaders summit in Vilnius, Lithuania July 11, 2023. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
OSLO (Reuters) - Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said late on Tuesday she would like to be considered for the job of NATO secretary general once Jens Stoltenberg steps down, Politico reported.
Speaking at a Politico conference in Washington, Kallas responded "yes" when she was pressed on whether she'd like to be considered for the role, according to the report.
Kallas has been a leading critic of Russia in the European Union and NATO, and has pushed for more comprehensive plans to defend the three Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, which all border Russia.
NATO diplomats have said, however, Kallas may be regarded as too hawkish by some members of the Western defence alliance.
Stoltenberg has been in post since 2014 and is due to step down in October 2024.
His term was extended in July for a fourth time, as the alliance's 31 member countries opted to stick with an experienced leader rather than try to agree on a successor with Russia's war in Ukraine raging on NATO's doorstep.
Outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has also said he would be interested in the job of leading NATO.
(Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Edting by Raju Gopalakrishnan)