Norway's former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg
Norway's former prime minister Jens StoltenbergReuters

Norway's former prime minister Jens Stoltenberg has been appointed Nato's next secretary general replacing Denmark's Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

"This afternoon, the North Atlantic Council decided to appoint Mr. Jens Stoltenberg as secretary general of NATO and Chairman of the North Atlantic Council, in succession to Anders Fogh Rasmussen," reads a Nato statement.

"Mr. Stoltenberg will assume his functions as Secretary General as from 1 October 2014, when Mr. Fogh Rasmussen's term expires after 5 years and 2 months at the helm of the Alliance."

The appointment was confirmed by Ramussen on Twittter.

The Nato alliance has suddenly become more relevant, in light of the Western nations' standoff with Russia over Ukraine and the Crimea annexation.

Stoltenberg, 55, served as Prime Minster of Norway from 2000 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2013. He has been the leader of the Norwegian Labour Party since 2002.