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NATO sources: Norway's former premier Jens Stoltenberg to be new chief of military alliance

NATO officials say Norway's former premier Jens Stoltenberg is to become the new chief of the military alliance.

Two officials from within the alliance and from a member state, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been officially made, said that Stoltenberg was expected to be confirmed late Friday.

The appointment comes at a critical time for the alliance as the crisis over Ukraine has suddenly made NATO more relevant on the European continent.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is to step down after a NATO summit in Wales later this year, and the past weeks had seen feverish diplomatic activity as some member states sought to push their candidate into the top political job of the 28-nation military alliance.