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    Danish NATO boss Rasmussen names Turkey envoy as chief of staff

    Hurriyet Daily News with wires
    30.04.2009 - 16:20 | Son Güncelleme:

    ISTANBUL - NATO's next secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen has chosen Denmark's ambassador to Turkey, Jesper Vahr, as his chief of staff, he announced on Thursday in Copenhagen. (UPDATED)

    Rasmussen, Denmark’s former prime minister, was in early April appointed to take over the Alliance on August 1 following intense negotiations with Turkey.   

     

    Turkey had opposed Rasmussen's bid for the top NATO post, saying the Dane's unwillingness to suspend broadcasts from a Denmark-based Roj TV station linked to the terror organization PKK, and his stance during the 2006 crisis over a Danish newspapers publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, cast doubts over his ability to lead the alliance.

     

    Ankara dropped its objections after U.S. President Barack Obama agreed to serve as a guarantor on several issues, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has said.

     

    According to media reports, Turkey had received "guarantees" from Obama that one of Rasmussen's deputies would be a Turk and that Turkish commanders would be present at the alliance's command. The reports also said Rasmussen would apologize to Muslim world for cartoon crisis and Roj TV would be closed.

     

    "I chose Jesper Vahr because he has a lot of experience, he has among other things worked closely with current (NATO) Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer on the reforms at Alliance headquarters," Rasmussen was quoted by AFP as saying in a statement.

     

    In 2005-2006, the Danish diplomat was the secretary general’s assistant in a working group on reforms undertaken by the alliance.

     

    Rasmussen said he intended to "continue the work" on reforms, saying he was "convinced that Jesper Vahr would encourage strong cooperation between member states and headquarters staff in order to ensure NATO’s continued renewal and development".

     

    Vahr will also take up his new position on August 1.

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