Hungary 'ready To Support' Dutch PM Rutte's NATO Bid: Orban

(@FahadShabbir)

Hungary 'ready to support' Dutch PM Rutte's NATO bid: Orban

Budapest, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 18th Jun, 2024) Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Tuesday threw his support behind Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte as the next NATO secretary general, after earlier opposing his bid for the defence alliance's top job.

"Hungary is ready to support PM Rutte's bid for NATO secretary general," Orban posted on X after the two leaders met on the sidelines of an EU summit in Brussels.

Orban's backing removes a major hurdle for Rutte to take the helm of the trans-Atlantic alliance, leaving only Romanian President Klaus Iohannis as the sole other candidate.

Except for Romania, all other 31 NATO countries appear ready to give their support to Rutte, whose nomination requires consensus from all allies.

Orban said he gave the green light after getting a guarantee from Rutte that he would stick to a deal agreed by Orban with current NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg last week over NATO's plan to coordinate arms deliveries to Ukraine.

Under the deal, Budapest would "not block" plans for the alliance to play a bigger role in the arms shipments, but Hungary would not have to contribute to the initiative.

"Our next step this week was to ensure that this agreement can stand the test of time," Orban posted, along with a photo of him and Rutte shaking hands and a letter signed by Rutte.

Meanwhile, media reports in Slovakia, which had been sitting on the fence on Rutte's appointment, said Tuesday that President Peter Pellegrini had endorsed Rutte in return for help from the Dutch in securing air defence equipment.

NATO diplomats said they expect Romania's Iohannis to announce soon that he was withdrawing from the race, though there was still no formal word from Bucharest.

Rutte would likely assume office when Stoltenberg's term ends on October 1.

In the letter posted by Orban, Rutte also "took note" of critical remarks he made in 2021 of Orban's populist right-wing government that "have caused dissatisfaction in Hungary".

He pledged to "maintain unity and treat all allies with the same level of understanding and respect".