Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Besieged UN peacekeepers battle Islamists in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • Ukrainian plane with seven on board crashes in Algeria

    Read more

  • Kerry calls for 'coalition of nations' to battle IS militants

    Read more

  • EU leaders meet in Brussels to seek a response to Russia

    Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns Russia of more sanctions

    Read more

  • Lesotho army seizes police HQ, jams radio stations

    Read more

  • IMF backs Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' against IS militants in Syria

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

Europe

Leaders fail to agree on new secretary-general

Video by Philip CROWTHER

Latest update : 2009-04-04

NATO leaders failed Friday to appoint a new leader after Turkey objected to frontrunner Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark's prime minister, because he did not apologise for cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in the Danish press.

REUTERS - NATO failed to agree on a new leader at a summit on Friday after Turkey expressed concerns about the candidacy of frontrunner Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

 

"We don't have consensus yet," NATO spokesman James Appathurai told a news briefing on the first day of a two-day summit co-hosted by Germany and France in Baden-Baden and Strasbourg. "The discussion will continue tomorrow."

 

Rasmussen has been backed by the main European powers and the United States in his bid to succeed Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, who steps down as NATO secretary-general on July 31.

 

But Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan criticised his handling of a 2006 crisis over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad published by a Danish newspaper and said NATO should look for another name.

 

"We ask why we got stuck on a single name," Erdogan told a news conference in Turkey. "Lets look for new alternatives and find a new name. This has nothing to do with Rasmussen personally. We just don't want NATO to get harmed."

 

NATO is engaged in the biggest military operation in its history in Afghanistan, and Turkey, the only mainly Muslim member of the alliance, fears Rasmussen's appointment could exacerbate hostility towards the West in Muslim countries.

 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, asked about the leadership contest shortly before NATO leaders began their summit, described Rasmussen as an excellent candidate and said she would urge the leaders to pick him.

The backing of all 28 member states is needed.

 

Erdogan said he took a "negative view" of the Dane's candidacy. NATO officials said earlier the decision, which leaders were due to discuss over dinner in Baden-Baden, could be postponed until June, dimming Rasmussen's prospects.

 
 
"Question mark"
 

"How can those who do not contribute to peace do so in the future? This naturally creates a question mark for us and as a result of this question mark personally, I take a negative view," Erdogan said.

 

President Abdullah Gul, a member of Erdogan's Islamic-rooted AK party, was representing Turkey at the summit but any decision on the NATO successor would need Erdogan's approval.

 

Ankara faults Rasmussen for offending Muslim sensitivities by defending the publication of the cartoons in Denmark, which caused riots in several Muslim countries, including Afghanistan.

 

Turkey is also unhappy that Kurdish ROJ TV is allowed to broadcast from Denmark even though it has close links to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) guerrillas who have been fighting for an ethnic homeland in Turkey since 1984.

 

The PKK is listed as a terrorist group in the United States and in the European Union.

 

 Erdogan said he had asked Rasmussen to shut the station, "But despite us asking him to stop it he couldn't or he didn't."

 

 Danish police visited Turkey last week as part of an investigation into Roj-TV, but prosecutors denied there was any connection in timing with Rasmussen's NATO leadership bid.

 

Both Rasmussen and Obama are due to visit Turkey on Monday.

 

Contenders for the NATO post also include Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere and former British Defence Secretary Des Browne. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski ruled himself out of the running on Friday.

 

Date created : 2009-04-03

COMMENT(S)