Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s ex-prime minister, has been appointed NATO’s next secretary general, replacing Denmark’s Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Jens Stoltenberg will take over as leader of the 28-nation military alliance in October, when Fogh Rasmussen steps down after a NATO summit in Wales.
Fogh Rasmussen has headed NATO for the past five years.
Jens Stoltenberg, Norway’s ex-prime minister, has been appointed NATO’s next secretary general
Jens Stoltenberg was prime minister of Norway at the time of Anders Breivik’s bomb and gun attacks in 2011.
Anders Breivik killed 77 people when he targeted government buildings in Oslo and young people and officials at a youth camp run by Jens Stoltenberg’s Labor party.
Jens Stoltenberg served as Norway’s prime minister twice, for 18 months in 2000-01 and again from 2005 to 2013.
Fogh Rasmussen said on Twitter that Jens Stoltenberg was “the right man to build on NATO’s record of strength and success”.
In its statement, NATO said: “Mr. Stoltenberg will assume his functions as secretary general as from 1 October 2014, when Mr. Fogh Rasmussen’s term expires after five years and two months at the helm of the alliance.”
Branislav Milinkovic, Serbian ambassador to NATO, has died after jumping from a multi-storey car park in Brussels airport.
The Serbian government confirmed that Branislav Milinkovic, 52, had died on Tuesday, but did not give details. It paid tribute to his work.
Emergency services were called to the scene, but were not able to revive him, sources at Brussels airport said.
Prosecutors in Brussels say they are treating Branislav Milinkovic’s death as a suicide.
He is thought to have been at the airport on Tuesday evening to meet Serbia’s deputy foreign minister and other officials who had arrived in Brussels for diplomatic talks.
The incident happened at around 18:00 local time.
After talking with colleagues, Branislav Milinkovic suddenly strolled to a barrier, climbed over and flung himself to the ground below, a diplomat told the Associated Press.
Branislav Milinkovic, Serbian ambassador to NATO, has died after jumping from a multi-storey car park in Brussels airport
Earlier on Tuesday, Branislav Milinkovic had seemed “completely normal, talking to journalists in the corridors of NATO”, a Serbian journalist in Brussels told the AFP news agency.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“Ambassador Branislav Milinkovic was a highly respected representative of his country and will be missed at NATO headquarters,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.
Serbia is not a member of NATO but it does have a mission at the alliance’s headquarters in Brussels because it belongs to the Partnership for Peace programme, which helps countries co-ordinate on defence and security issues.
Branislav Milinkovic had been an ambassador since 2009.
He had previously worked as a journalist and was an active opponent of Serbia’s former leader Slobodan Milosevic. Branislav Milinkovic leaves behind a wife and a six-year-old son.
NATO has approved the deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries along Turkey’s border with Syria.
The long-expected move emerged from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, and amid growing fears that Syria could use chemical weapons.
NATO’s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the ministers had “unanimously expressed grave concerns” about the use of chemical weapons.
Syria has said it would never use such weapons against its own people.
The meeting of the 28-member Western military alliance’s foreign ministers in Brussels follows a request from Turkey to boost its defences along the border.
NATO has approved the deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries along Turkey’s border with Syria
In a statement, NATO said it had “agreed to augment Turkey’s air defence capabilities in order to defend the population and territory of Turkey and to contribute to the de-escalation of the crisis along the alliance’s border”.
Recent intelligence assessments have indicated Damascus is contemplating using ballistic missiles, potentially armed with chemical warheads.
Speaking after the meeting, Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that the foreign ministers had “unanimously expressed grave concerns” about the reports, saying: “Any such action would be completely unacceptable and a clear breach of international law.”
He would not give further details on the deployment, but said it would ensure effective protection of Turkey against any missile attack, whether carrying chemical weapons or not.
NATO officials have previously made clear such a move would be purely defensive.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, has underlined President Barack Obama’s warning to the Syrian government not to use chemical weapons against its own people.
At a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said their use would be “completely unacceptable”.
The foreign ministers are expected to approve the deployment of Patriot anti-missile batteries to Turkey.
The move is designed to defend Turkey’s border with Syria.
Activists say more than 40,000 people have been killed since the Syrian uprising against President Assad began in March 2011. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country and another 2.5 million are displaced within its borders.
On Tuesday, a teacher and at least 28 students were killed in a rocket attack on their school inside the Wafideen refugee camp, 20 km (15 miles) north-east of Damascus.
The origin of the firing was not clear – state media said it had been a rebel mortar attack.
Speaking ahead of the NATO meeting, Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters: “The possible use of chemical weapons would be completely unacceptable for the whole international community.
“If anybody resorts to these terrible weapons, then I would expect an immediate reaction from the international community.”
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO Secretary General, has underlined President Barack Obama’s warning to the Syrian government not to use chemical weapons against its own people
The meeting of the 28-member Western military alliance’s foreign ministers in Brussels follows a request from Turkey to boost its defences along the border. NATO officials have made clear such a move would be purely defensive.
Barack Obama has warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad he would face “consequences” if he used chemical weapons against his people.
“The world is watching. The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable,” said Barack Obama in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington.
“If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”
A Syrian official has insisted the country would “never, under any circumstances” use such weapons, “if such weapons exist”.
A NATO team has already visited a number of sites in Turkey in preparation for the deployment of Patriot batteries, which could be used to shoot down any Syrian missiles or warplanes that stray over the border.
The missile deployment is likely to be approved despite opposition from Russia, whose foreign minister is also attending Tuesday’s meeting in Brussels.
But analysts say any deployment – possibly supplied by the US, Germany or the Netherlands – could take weeks.
Syrian opposition fighters have reportedly made dramatic gains recently, and several government mortar shells – aimed at rebel targets close to the border – have landed across its 900-km (560-mile) border with Turkey.
Ankara’s request for NATO to deploy the anti-missile batteries came after intelligence assessments that Damascus was contemplating using ballistic missiles, potentially armed with chemical warheads, reports say.
Syria is believed to hold chemical weapons – including mustard gas and sarin, a highly toxic nerve agent – at dozens of sites around the country.
The CIA has said those weapons “can be delivered by aircraft, ballistic missile and artillery rockets”.
One unnamed US official told the New York Times on Monday that the level of concern in Washington was such that contingency plans were being prepared.
On Monday the United Nations said it was pulling “all non-essential international staff” out of Syria, with as many as 25 out of 100 international staff expected to leave this week.
The European Union has withdrawn its mission altogether. The ambassador and head of delegation to Syria, Vassilis Bontosoglou, left Damascus with his six remaining international staff members on Tuesday morning.
Although the head of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi told AFP on Monday that the Syrian government could fall “any time”, it still holds the capital, parts of the second city Aleppo, and other centres.
Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi is said to have fled the country, amid reports he has been dismissed, ostensibly for making statements out of line with government policy.
NATO leaders are meeting in Chicago in a summit dominated by the withdrawal from Afghanistan.
They want to forge a common stance as they prepare to hand over security to Afghan forces by the end of 2014.
Some members have pledged aid to help Afghan forces tackle the Taliban insurgency on their own.
President Barack Obama warned of “hard days ahead”, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his country was fully aware of the responsibilities.
Barack Obama urged leaders to “pool resources”, and vowed to stand united to complete the Afghan withdrawal.
A number of NATO leaders have arrived from Washington, where they attended G8 talks that focused on the euro crisis.
The G8 group of leading industrial nations promised to promote growth alongside fiscal responsibility and insisted on the need for Greece to stay in the eurozone.
US President Barack Obama said there was an “emerging consensus” that European countries must now focus on jobs and growth.
The statements represented a shift away from Germany’s pro-austerity stance.
More than 50 leaders are attending the NATO meeting in Chicago.
Among them are heads of state and government from the 28 NATO countries, as well as Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari.
NATO leaders are meeting in Chicago in a summit dominated by the withdrawal from Afghanistan
As talks began President Obama spoke of a “transformational decade” in Afghanistan and the enormous sacrifices of the American people on the road to peace, stability and development.
The summit comes as several NATO leaders are under domestic pressure to withdraw troops from Afghanistan before 2014.
The new French President, Francois Hollande, has promised to pull out the country’s forces by the end of this year.
However, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said such moves were part of the plan.
“We are now in a process of gradually handing over lead responsibility for security to the Afghans and that process will be completed by the end of 2014 and during that process you will see withdrawal of troops, a shift from combat to support,” he said.
“It’s not a contradiction of our strategy, it’s a part of our strategy,” Anders Fogh Rasmussen added.
Some nations – including the US, Australia, Britain, and Germany – have made pledged to an international fund set to help Afghan forces after the NATO pullout.
The US is expected to pay half of an estimated $4 billion needed every year.
More than 10 years after the US toppled the Taliban regime, violence is continuing unabated in Afghanistan. According to UN figures, the number of deaths reached a record 3,031 in 2011 – the great majority caused by militants.
Earlier this month the Taliban announced the start of their annual spring offensive. On Saturday a suicide bomber killed at least 10 people, a number of them children, at a checkpoint in the eastern province of Khost.
The Obama administration is hoping that President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan will agree to reopen key NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, which were closed in November after US air strikes killed Pakistani troops.
Pakistan’s co-operation is regarded as key to the success of the international mission in Afghanistan, as 130,000 US-led troops fight a Taliban insurgency.
Also on the agenda at the NATO summit are plans for a US-led missile defense system for Europe, aimed at countering a possible threat from Iran.
The leaders are expected to announce the first phase of the scheme, with the deployment of US warships armed with interceptors in the Mediterranean and a radar system based in Turkey.
Russia has voiced strong opposition to the plan, saying it undermines the value of its nuclear deterrent.
The summit is taking place amid heavy security in Chicago.
Leaders from the Occupy movement have said they will join forces with anti-war demonstrators which have held protests ahead of the NATO meeting.