President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson met with Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin this morning to discuss matters of mutual interest in the region.
The two were speakers at a conference being held in Arkangelsk, Russia. There, Arctic issues were at the top of the agenda. Eyjan reports that Putin expressed a desire for Iceland and Russia to work together in the areas of use of the Arctic Ocean, geothermal power, sustainable fishing and ocean management.
These sentiments aren’t new, and are in fact reiterations of the same points Putin covered when he met with the president last September. At that time, Russia was also keen on the Dragon Zone, an area in the northeast corner of Iceland’s fishing waters reputed to be rich in oil and gas.
Although the Norwegians have taken the initiative in the Dragon Zone, the Russians are hoping to utilise geothermal technology developed in Iceland for generating power in the Kamchatka peninsula.
Iceland is on friendly terms with Russia, avoiding a lot of the drama that other NATO countries have encountered. Icelandic foreign minister Össur Skarphéðinsson has said that Iceland wants to develop their friendship with Russia, and that Iceland regards the country as “a big and friendly neighbour”.