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UK PM to ask Biden to back Ben Wallace for top NATO post – media


Jun 5, 2023

Rishi Sunak reportedly plans to lobby on behalf of his defense secretary during his trip to Washington

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will try to “encourage” US President Joe Biden to endorse the current UK defense chief as possible next NATO secretary general, the Telegraph reported on Sunday. Ben Wallace had previously expressed interest in leading the Western military alliance.

Sunak will meet Biden at the White House on Thursday. According to Biden’s spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre, the leader will discuss a wide range of topics, including the support for Ukraine, energy security, and trade relations. 

Wallace has been the advocate of the harshest sanctions against Moscow and one of the strongest proponents of supplying advanced weapons to Kiev.

Under his watch, the UK became the first nation to offer modern heavy tanks to Ukraine and has recently delivered Storm Shadow long-range cruise missiles to Ukrainian troops.

Although Wallace fell short of confirming his intention to lead NATO, he has told the media in the past that it would be a “fantastic” job. 

NATO’s current secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg of Norway, whose four-year term was extended for a year in March 2022 due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, will step down on September 30, 2023. He said earlier this year that he would not seek a further extension.

The secretary general is chosen through “informal diplomatic consultations” between the bloc’s 31 members, according to NATO’s website.