Orbán will only support Rutte for a top position in NATO if the conditions are met


Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he could back outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the post of NATO Secretary General – if certain conditions are met.

Rutte must apologize for “offensive comments” he made against Hungary, Orbán said in an interview with the government-funded news portal Mandiner, published on Wednesday evening.

Rutte must also agree that Hungary does not need to participate in NATO military missions targeting Russia in Ukraine, Orbán said.

But no one is calling for, planning or preparing for such a military operation by the Western defense alliance. And although individual Member States can take initiatives on their own, other Member States are not obliged to participate in these cases.

The mandate of current NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg of Norway expires in October. A unanimous vote is needed in the 32-nation alliance to choose a successor. Currently, all members except Romania and Hungary support Rutte.

Romania currently has its own candidate for the top position in President Klaus Iohannis, whose second term ends in the autumn and who cannot run again.

“We support Romania,” Orbán said in the interview with Mandiner.

His comments about the conditions for Rutte apparently applied in the event that Bucharest withdrew Iohannis’ candidacy.

Hungary has been a member of NATO since 1999. Under Orbán, who has been in power continuously since 2010, the country is pursuing an increasingly Russia-friendly attitude.

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