"The more Lithuanian names we hear in similar contexts, the better for Lithuania," he told the Ziniu Radijas radio station, commenting on a Politico Europe article naming Grybauskaite as a potential choice to replace Jens Stoltenberg as the alliance's secretary-general.

"If President Dalia Grybauskaite took such a position, it would be a huge achievement for Lithuania, and all institutions in Lithuania are interested in and must take efforts" to make this happen," he added.

Politico Europe reported on Monday that Grybauskaite was among three women on the top of the list of prospective candidates.

The other two candidates are Croatia's former President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and current Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid.

However, Politico notes that "some NATO-watchers said that choosing a secretary-general from the Baltics, particularly Grybauskaite of Lithuania, could be seen as too hostile toward Moscow, at a time when U.S. President Joe Biden is trying to stabilize relations between Russia and the West".

Other potential candidates named in the article include former UK Prime Minister Theresa May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, and Federica Mogherini, a former Italian foreign minister and former EU foreign policy chief.

Jens Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian prime minister, has been serving as NATO's secretary-general since October 2014. He still has a little more than a year, until October 2022, in the Alliance's top civilian post.

At NATO headquarters in Brussels, formal discussions on who will succeed Stoltenberg as secretary-general have just begun. His successor is expected to be introduced at NATO's summit in Madrid in late spring or early summer next year, according to Politico.

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