Political news site POLITICO reports that Prime Minister Kaja Kallas on Tuesday directly indicated that she would be interested in becoming the next NATO secretary general, after Jens Stoltenberg extended term finishes.
Kallas' name has already been linked with the top job at the alliance in the recent past, though she has expressed doubt over the likelihood about a secretary general being appointed from one of its Eastern Flank nations.
Speaking at the POLITICO Defense Summit, on being pressed on whether she would like to be considered for the role, she replied, succinctly, "yes," meeting with a round of applause in consequence.
Immediately before this she had noted that she had recently heard a "joke" in which the next NATO chief should be a woman, from one of the newer member states and from a country which spent at least 2 percent of its annual GDP on defense.
Estonia's prime minister wants to be next NATO chief pic.twitter.com/16zXao7s6n— POLITICO Live (@POLITICOLive) November 14, 2023
POLITICO reports that Kallas was buoyant about Ukraine's prospects of ultimately defeating Russia on the battlefield, and expressed surprise at their being fewer "skeptical" U.S. political figures on this, so far as she had met while in Washington this week, than expected.
"I actually had a very, very good meeting with all of those people and I was asking the ambassadors, like, 'when are we meeting the skeptical ones?' " Kallas said, according to POLITICO.
She rejected claims that the current war has reached deadlock and counseled against falling into the trap of assuming that it had done, given that this would play into Russia's hands.
"What we want to have is sustainable peace. And of course, you know, American support for that is fundamental," she added.
The prime minister was in Washington this week, at a time of concern in her region of Europe in particular that U.S. support for Ukraine is faltering; she has met with Biden administration officials and lawmakers on Capitol Hill as part of her official visit itinerary.
NATO's role is evolving as a key force in support of Ukraine following the full-scale invasion now in its twentieth month, and the alliance seeks to project strength and unity in the face of emerging threats such as China, POLITICO says, and even challenges such as AI.
Former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg has been NATO secretary general since 2014, and has had his term extended four times, ostensibly due to the changed security situation and a desire to maintain continuity.
Also on Kallas' itinerary was re-opening the newly renovated Estonian Embassy in Washington, and speaking at the NGO The National Endowment for Democracy's 40th anniversary dinner.
I opened the newly renovated @Estonia_in_US together with @StateEUR.— Kaja Kallas (@kajakallas) November 15, 2023
With this house, this embassy, our people here – we have made a promise: Estonia is here to stay.
For the next century and beyond, we will engage with, support and rally our friend and ally, the United States. pic.twitter.com/tP1vl7YVKN
Editor: Andrew Whyte