Russia appears to be eager to expand areas of cooperation with Iceland in numerous fields of mutual interest.
Andrei Tsyganov, the Russian ambassador to Iceland, handed Icelandic president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson a letter from President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev yesterday, detailing this willingness for working together. In particular, the Russian president believes the two countries have much to share in the areas of energy development, modernisation, investment projects and polar issues, Fréttablaðið reports.
Russia and Iceland have been drawing closer in recent days. Earlier this month, Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson confirmed for reporters that Iceland has entered the beginning stages of a free trade agreement with Russia, expected to formally begin next year.
Last year, Russian authorities gave Iceland a 5,500 tonne fishing quota in Russian waters. Iceland has in turn been developing geothermal energy in the Kamchatka peninsula.
More recently, Russian Minister of Energy Sergei Shmatko asked oil companies in his country to begin work with Iceland in the search for oil in the so-called Dragon Zone, located in the northeast corner of Icelandic fishing waters.
As Össur has said of Russia in the past, “Icelanders regard Russia as a strong but peaceful neighbor who we want to work with to a greater degree but for the same reasons as with other countries in our area, not least of all with regards to polar matters.”