Nordic Partnership To Defend Icelandic Airspace Underway

7.9.2012
Words by Paul Fontaine
A new agreement is currently in the works between Finland, Sweden and Norway regarding the joint defence of Iceland's airspace.

While Iceland is a NATO country, it does not have a military. For paying its dues into the organisation, it permits other NATO countries to take part in air exercise in Iceland, and they are in turn obliged to defend the country in the event of an attack.

Finnish news site Yle Uutiset now reports that Finland, Sweden and Norway could soon forge an agreement to share in the task of defending Iceland's airspace.

Finland's Defence Minister Carl Haglund told reporters that if the agreement rolls forward, all three countries could soon be taking part in air exercises in Iceland. However, the ultimate responsibility among them to defend Iceland in the event of an attack would be on Norway, which is the only country of those three that is actually in NATO.

Haglund also set other conditions for Finland's participation. "All the indications are Finland's participation alongside Sweden would be in the way of exercises. The main responsibility would lie with Norway and only then with Finland and Sweden, if they take part," he said. "The other thing, of course, is this financial aspect, that is what is demanded of us. It's recognized that we have rather limited resources."

A final decision on the matter is expected soon.

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