From Iceland — Iceland Will Continue Trade Sanctions Against Russia

Iceland Will Continue Trade Sanctions Against Russia

Published August 2, 2015

Andie Sophia Fontaine
Photo by
DV/Sigtryggur Ari

Iceland will not be changing its policy regarding trade sanctions against Russia, but not without reservations from some members of parliament.

Birgir Ármannsson, the chairperson of Iceland’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told RÚV that “there is no reason” to stop the country’s participation in the international sanctions against Russia, which includes the participation of the EU and the US.

“Iceland took the immediate decision early last year to take part in those operations which both our partners in the European Economic Area and in North America took as a result of the annexation of the Crimea and the interference of Russia in Ukrainian matters,” Birgir told reporters. “Unfortunately there have been no events which would warrant changing that position.”

Not that everyone sees it that way. Russia bought 10% of Iceland’s fish exports last year, and many in the country’s fishing industry are worried that Iceland’s continued participation in the sanctions will lead to Russia ceasing to buy fish from Iceland. As of yet, Russia has not stopped buying Icelandic exports.

Independence Party MP Ásmundur Friðriksson believes the possibility of that happening is reason enough to end participation in the sanctions, stating that there are “incredibly important interests at stake”. Progressive Party MP Frosti Sigurjónsson, while not taking a solid position on the matter, did say that he believes Iceland should remain neutral on these matters, and not take up the foreign policy of the European Union.

Minister of Fisheries Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson has not yet commented on the matter.

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