Profile: Nato

Leader: Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Nato secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen Former prime minister Rasmussen is the most senior politician to head Nato

Anders Fogh Rasmussen took over as NATO secretary-general at the end of July 2009, succeeding Dutchman Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

As secretary-general he is responsible for coordinating the alliance's work, leads NATO's staff and chairs the North Atlantic Council, the alliance's top political governing body.

With the announcement of his appointment in April 2009, it was the first time that the military alliance had picked a serving head of government for its top job - a sign that the post would become much more politicised.

"First and foremost, I am a political leader. That's what I was as prime minister and that's what I will also be as secretary general. It's the reason why I have been chosen," Rasmussen told the Danish monthly, Berlingske Nyhedsmagasin. "My colleagues told me they wanted a NATO with a higher political profile with a politician leading it," he told the news magazine.

Rasmussen served three times as prime minister of Denmark and is the most senior politician to head the alliance. He backed the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, sent Danish troops there and has urged NATO members to send more forces to Afghanistan.

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