The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced some new developments in Iceland’s relationship with NATO.
According to a statement posted on the Minstry’s website, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson met with Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) of NATO Allied Command Operations Philip M. Breedlove today, to discuss numerous ways in which Iceland will increase its involvement with NATO. Many of these details were finalised in a general NATO meeting in Wales last week.
Amongst their conclusions, the Minister said that he believes it important that Breedlove visit Iceland regularly to assess the defence situation in the country. This entails, amongst other things, increased “guest appearances” of military forces from other NATO countries.
“I want to emphasise the position of the Icelandic government that NATO needs to have at its disposal the ability to keep track of changing trends in the Arctic region,” the Minister said in the statement. “Changes in the Arctic includes increasing movements that are not just about security but also pertain to environmental assessments and search and rescue.”
The Minister also said that Iceland will increase its “civic participation” in NATO, and that NATO will in turn help develop Iceland’s air defence system.
Iceland developing its own air defence structure is an idea not limited to the current government. In 2012, the previous government developed plans to form an air defence alliance with other Nordic countries. That idea did not ultimately come to fruition.
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