Foreign Minister: No Plans To Re-Open Naval Air Base - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Foreign Minister: No Plans To Re-Open Naval Air Base

Published August 5, 2016

Photos by
Art Bicnick

Minister of Foreign Affairs Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir says American authorities have made no request to re-open the base, and says a recent think-tank report recommending such is simply a part of the discussion on national security.

As reported, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a new report on the subject of “Undersea Warfare in Northern Europe”, where amongst their recommendations is that the United States re-open the naval air base in Keflavík, which officially closed in 2006.

In the wake of the report, Lilja told Vísir that no such plans are in the works.

“This [report] comes from an independent think-tank, and this office does not answer to the American authorities nor NATO,” she told reporters. “But there are no discussions between Iceland and the United States about changing our current partnership, and no requests for such have come from American authorities. Such a decision would require intense discussions in Iceland, but there are no plans for such.”

As reported, Stars & Stripes announced last February that the US Navy would be refurbishing a hangar at Keflavík, from where P-3’s regularly conduct routine patrols for Russian submarines in the North Atlantic. Last June, Iceland and the US signed a joint defence agreement that reaffirmed many existing points of the military agreement between the two countries while adding broader dimensions to the scope of their partnership.

Icelandic officials have provided assurances that these recent events are not heralding in the re-opening of the US Naval Air Station, which was closed in 2006.

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