Iceland and the US have entered into an agreement with regards to the polar region, both in the field of research and environmental protection.
Vísir reports that Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday to discuss a number of issues, among them the Arctic region. The two hammered out an agreement whereby numerous countries, Iceland among them, would develop a surveillance and rescue station in the polar sea. This is considered particularly pressing as more ships begin to utilise the so-called Northern Route, and sea ice is melting faster. The US, for its part, pledged to develop a system for preventing oil spills in the area.
Össur was most pleased with these results. Last year, he expressed disappointment at Iceland being snubbed from a polar conference which included Canada, Norway, Russia, the US, and Denmark. “I just think it’s the wrong way to go,” the minister told Vísir at the time. “Canada should rather try to get a consensus from all the nations of the polar region,” including Iceland, Finland and Sweden.
Other matters the two discussed yesterday included the defence of Iceland, the situation in the Middle East, and the further cooperative development of geothermal energy technology.