According to Vísir, Robert Burke, Admiral and Commander of the US Navy in Europe and Africa, discussed in an interview the possibility of locating a submarine search squadron in Iceland. The purpose of the squadron would be to monitor the activities of Russian submarines in the North Atlantic, and it would consist of P-8A Poseidons. It could also be used to participate in port construction for search and rescue in East Iceland.
No plans have been made and this was addressed as a mere speculation that has not been discussed with the Icelandic government. “We wonder if there is any value in having a small, lasting American footprint in Iceland,” said Burke. He arrived in Iceland on Thursday for the air force patrol.
Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir has previously ruled out the possibility of US troops being permanently located in Iceland, and there has been no permanent US force in Iceland since 2006. However, an increase in Russian activity in the North Sea seems to have raised US interest in Iceland. “The capabilities of the Russian submarine fleet have become very high,” said Burke. “Within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, this is an urgent issue.”
In a statement sent by the US embassy to Vísir, Burke said, “In today’s interview, we discussed regional security issues and possible views on certain measures to increase security co-operation with Iceland. These views have not been discussed with the Icelandic government. As equal partners, all annexes to the current co-operation agreement are, of course, subject to the approval of both governments.”
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