April 4, 2009 / 7:59 AM / 10 years ago

US: No urgency to decide new NATO chief at summit

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - The United States does not see any “huge sense of urgency” to resolve a dispute over the choice of the next NATO secretary-general at the alliance’s summit on Saturday, a U.S. official said.

“President Obama is engaged in that discussion and we’ll see where it ends up,” a senior U.S. official told reporters attending the summit, noting that Washington traditionally has not publicly stated its preference for the post.

Turkey blocked Europe’s candidate, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who had emerged as front-runner to replace Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer as secretary-general when he steps down at the end on July.

A German official made clear only Turkey was blocking Rasmussen’s candidacy, saying: “Twenty-seven member states are backing Rasmussen. We are talking with the Turks.”

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