Pole Backed for Post of NATO Chief

WARSAW -- Polish President Lech Kaczynski has thrown his weight behind Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, a political rival, for the post of NATO secretary-general.

Kaczynski and Sikorski, both right-wingers, have often been at loggerheads over key foreign policy issues. The president, a Euroskeptic and a staunch critic of Russia, has accused Sikorski of acting in line with Moscow's interests.

Asked about Sikorski's candidacy for the top job at the U.S.-led, 26-nation alliance, Kaczynski said Tuesday: "He even got the backing of the opposition. This is a Polish politician, and this would be a great success for Poland."

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, a former Dutch foreign minister, is set to step down in 2009 after four years at NATO's helm.

Sikorski headed the Polish Defense Ministry under Kaczynski's twin brother Jaroslaw, but he was later fired.