Icelandic authorities have filed a complaint with NATO because of Britain’s action to invoke anti-terrorism legislation in an effort to freeze the assets of Icelandic banks in the UK. The formal complaint was submitted at the meeting of the NATO Council yesterday.
Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde said at the Althingi parliament yesterday that it would have been “unthinkable” that Britain had treated a larger nation in such a way.
According to Morgunbladid’s sources, Iceland’s permanent representative at NATO, Thorsteinn Ingólfsson, cited public safety in Iceland in a broad context at the meeting, including an economical context, and said that Iceland was being threatened under the current circumstances, among other things because of one-sided actions taken by one NATO member state, Britain.
Icelandic authorities claim British authorities abused their anti-terrorism legislation, which is at odds with the joint fight of NATO member states against terrorism and does in fact jeopardize the credibility of that fight.
The NATO Council’s meeting was closed and only attended by the permanent representatives of the member states and the NATO Secretary General, but not by other officials. That kind of arrangement is unusual and only takes place when very serious matters are discussed.
After the meeting, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde and they discussed the matter. Haarde also discussed the matter with President of the European Commission José Manual Barroso.
Barroso said at a press conference yesterday that the European Union could not be involved in a debate between Iceland and Britain.
According to historian Gudni Th. Jóhannesson, Iceland has not complained to NATO about the actions of another NATO member state since the Cod Wars against Britain, 1975-1976, when Iceland fought for extending its fishing limits to 200 nautical miles.
Click here to read about Icelandic authorities preparing a lawsuit against Britain.