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09:26 08 Sep 2022

Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Freeland may become new NATO Secretary General — media

Deputy Prime Minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland is a candidate for the post of NATO Secretary General

CBC News reports it with reference to sources.

As noted in the publication, this was reported by four different sources – in Ottawa, Washington, and Brussels, where the headquarters of NATO is located.

They said Freeland's name had been discussed in international defense and security circles for several months.

Accordingly, as reported by CBC News, she is a potential successor to current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

"There are some very qualified women who would be outstanding candidates … It seems there is some momentum for a woman to be the next [secretary general]," a senior NATO official said on condition of anonymity.

Freeland herself on Wednesday dodged a direct question about her candidacy, mentioning that she "already has two jobs" – the positions of Deputy Prime Minister of Canada and Minister of Finance.

"Having a Canadian [secretary general] might be welcome in terms of supercharging Canada's involvement in the alliance," said Chris Skaluba of the Washington-based think-tank the Atlantic Council.

"She's broadly well-thought-of in European and trans-Atlantic security circles. I think that gives her a legitimate," he added.

Stoltenberg's term was due to expire this month, but NATO leaders, agitated after russia's invasion of Ukraine, extended that term to 2023.

Serious discussion of Stoltenberg's replacement continued in early 2020, long before the current Secretary General's deadline.

In the summer of 2021, the American publication Politico wrote that three former presidents of NATO countries – Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović from Croatia, Dalia Grybauskaite from Lithuania, and Kersti Kaljulaid from Estonia were among the main candidates.

Sources in Brussels said that the name Freeland appeared last fall.

Freeland is deeply immersed in the politics and history of Eastern Europe. She is fluent in English, Ukrainian, Russian, Polish, French, Spanish, and Italian.

She is likely to be seen as a major favorite at a time when the Alliance is trying to hold together amid a major war in Europe. Her knowledge of Russia and the inner workings of the Kremlin would also be a big plus.

Freeland is of Ukrainian origin, and she was born to a Ukrainian mother.

On the eve of winter, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that the war in Ukraine is entering a critical phase, and winter will be a test for the members of the military Alliance.

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