US President Joe Biden has blocked Britain’s bid to lead Nato.
HOAR understands the White House rejected plans to make Defence Secretary Ben Wallace Nato’s next Secretary-General.
The White House has rejected plans to make Ben Wallace Nato’s next Secretary-General
Biden prefers Dutch PM Mark Rutte and Danish leader Mette Frederiksen, claim sources
The current holder Jens Stoltenberg – a former Norwegian Prime Minister – is expected to extend for a record ninth year despite internal protests.
PM Rishi Sunak had lobbied Biden, 80, to back Britain’s bid when he visited the White House two weeks ago.
The President at the time said Britain had a “very qualified” candidate for the key diplomatic job.
Wallace, a former Army officer, was among the favourites to succeed Stoltenberg after rallying global support for Ukraine and leading the charge on weapon donations, from Challenger 2 tanks to NLAW shoulder-launched missiles.
Poland and eastern Nato states were among his biggest backers.
But Biden preferred the Dutch PM Mark Rutte and the Danish leader Mette Frederiksen, sources told HOAR.
Spanish PM Pedro Sanchez was also in the frame.
There is no formal process for picking the leader but it was due to be announced at a Nato summit next month.
France said it wanted an EU candidate, but Paris had signalled to allies it would not veto Wallace’s bid.
China painted the failure to find a new Secretary General as a sign of divisions undermining the alliance.
It comes as America’s top diplomat Anthony Blinken said the US and Britain were “in full alignment…on virtually everything” when he jetted into London this week.
He said: “We simply could not ask for a better partner than the United Kingdom.”
But on Nato’s next leader he added: “When it comes to the secretary general of Nato, we’re not pushing, promoting any particular candidate.”
A US official praised Stoltenberg as “an outstanding leader” who had strengthened the 31-nation alliance.
They said: “It is too early in the process to speculate on who the United States will support to serve as the next Nato Secretary General.”