From Iceland — President Defends Remarks to Foreign Press

President Defends Remarks to Foreign Press

Published September 17, 2010

President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told RÚV that recent remarks he’s made both to the Chinese press and the Bloomberg were said with the interests of the people at heart.
As the Grapevine reported, Ólafur told Bloomberg, “The activities by Britain and the Netherlands, which for a long time were supported by the European Union, have raised a question in the minds of many Icelanders: ‘What kind of club is this anyhow?” This remarks prompted Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson to respond, “The president of course has freedom of speech, like any other Icelander, but it would be nice if he wouldn’t express himself in such a way that it could be interpreted as Iceland’s actual foreign policy.”
The president told RÚV yesterday that his remarks were edited out of context, and that all he was doing was putting forth a number of the opinions being expressed by the Icelandic people.
He added, regarding Icesave, “I have noticed – and this is a fact – that since I took my decision to refer Icesave [to public referendum], the British and Dutch have totally changed their positions, withdrawn their demands and come closer to the point of view that could be possible to regard as fair. I am just trying, on behalf of the people, to put forth a position that I believe just and fair and fortunately, that’s gotten results.”
The president also denied outright that he had overstepped boundaries once again with regards to presidential power, saying that “It is impossible to be the president of Iceland without being prepared to take part in that which is important to the people.”

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