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Hungary and Slovakia will not block Rutte's election as NATO Secretary General

Hungary and Slovakia will not block Rutte's election as NATO Secretary General Mark Rutte (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Hungary has declined to block the candidacy of Mark Rutte for the position of NATO Secretary General after the outgoing Dutch Prime Minister and Viktor Orbán spoke on the sidelines of an EU leaders meeting in Brussels. Slovak President Peter Pellegrini also expressed his support, according to Reuters.

According to sources, Dutch outlets NOS and RTL reported that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán did not reiterate his demand for an apology from Rutte for what Orbán last month described as a "problematic" view of Hungary.

An apology was one of the two conditions Hungary had set for approving Rutte as the successor to Jens Stoltenberg as NATO chief.

The other condition, a guarantee that Hungary would not have to provide funding to Ukraine or send troops, was approved last week by Stoltenberg.

This year, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany have supported Rutte to succeed Stoltenberg, who will step down as NATO head in October.

New Slovak President Peter Pellegrini announced that his country is ready to back Rutte for the top NATO position. Slovaks are among the most pro-Russian members of the EU and NATO, and Prime Minister Robert Fico has halted arms supplies to Ukraine.

NATO makes decisions by consensus, requiring any candidate to have the support of all 32 allies. Romania has yet to give the green light. Romanian President Klaus Iohannis declared in March that he was running for the top NATO position, asserting that Eastern European states need better representation in Euro-Atlantic leadership roles.