Buchheit to Lead Iceland’s Icesave Talks Skip to content

Buchheit to Lead Iceland’s Icesave Talks

Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon announced after yesterday’s meeting with Lee C. Buchheit, an American expert on debts and the co-owner of the law firm Clearly Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York, that he will lead the Icelandic negotiation committee if the Icesave talks with the British and Dutch governments will be resumed.

Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.

Donald Johnston, a Canadian politician, lawyer and former Secretary General of the OECD, who the government has hired as a consultant in the Icesave dispute, also arrived to the country yesterday, RÚV reports.

According to Morgunbladid, Johnston had a meeting with Buchheit yesterday and will meet with Sigfússon and other Icelandic political leaders today. Sigfússon said it is uncertain which role Johnston will play if renegotiations will take place.

Sigfússon had a telephone conference with his British and Dutch counterparts yesterday, Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos and Paul Myners, the Financial Services Secretary in the HM Treasury.

“I am moderately optimistic,” Sigfússon said in regard to whether the Icesave negotiations will resume. “I have learnt that it doesn’t pay off to celebrate any victories early in this case. We will simply have to wait and see what happens. At least we’re trying.”

The Icelandic government and opposition have reached an agreement on how to proceed. “Yes, we have reached an agreement,” confirmed chairman of the Progressive Party Sigmundur Davíd Gunnlaugsson to RÚV.

“We have yet to work on all procedural items and in fact we’re still deciding what the main focus point will be but it is invaluable to have Lee Buchheit and possibly other experts to participate in the discussions,” Gunnlaugsson said.

Sigfússon said the goal is to determine whether the Icesave negotiations with the British and Dutch can be resumed in the next few days. There isn’t much time because the Icesave referendum is scheduled for March 6.

Click here to read more about Icesave.

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