Norway Minister Fuels Rasmussen NATO Speculation
OSLO (AFP)–Norway’s foreign minister fueled speculation Tuesday that Danish premier Anders Fogh Rasmussen will soon head NATO when he hinted that the next alliance chief would understand Norwegian.
When asked by the Dagsavisen daily’s Web site late Monday whether the next NATO secretary-general would understand Norwegian, Jonas Gahr Støre said “yes,” adding that the pick would be “good for Norway.”
Norwegian and Danish are closely linguistically related and speakers of the two languages generally have no trouble understanding each other.
While Rasmussen so far has refused to comment on the rumors that he will soon be appointed to the top NATO post, his perceived candidacy has gained momentum since the United States at the weekend said it would back him for the job.
European press reports also suggest he has the firm backing of NATO’s European heavyweights – Britain, France and Germany.
The announcement of who will replace current NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands is expected to come no later than at the alliance’s summit in Strasbourg on April 3-4.