US ambassador James Gadsden spoke yesterday at a public meeting held by Varðberg, an Icelandic organization that promotes co-operation between the democracies of West.
According to Morgunblaðið, Ambassador Gadsden claimed that the US-Iceland defense agreement from 1951 was still important to both countries, and the US considered their responsibility for the defense of Iceland as important as ever. “Our objective must be to ensure the maximum level of readiness in Iceland without adversely affecting our commitments to other allies and without excessive cost to the US taxpayer,” said Gadsden according to Morgunblaðið.
The ambassador recommended that Iceland establish a center of competence for defense issues. Such an institution had long been needed in Iceland, and, if established, it would be able to contribute to the discussion of the role of Iceland both within NATO and also in the context of overall global security.
Ambassador Gadsden also mentioned the collaboration of the two countries in other spheres of human endeavor. He specifically referred to NASA’s research in Surtsey and also mentioned recent investments by US companies in the aluminum sector in Iceland.
Ambassador Gadsden observed that Icelandic investors had of late shown an appetite for investing in the UK and the Nordic countries. He expressed concern that they might thereby be missing out on opportunities in the US which had a vibrant economy and a higher economic growth rate than Europe.