Iceland’s Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir and Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Störe signed an agreement in Oslo yesterday on defense collaborations between the two nations on matters of defense.
Afterwards Iceland and Denmark signed a declaration, similar to the agreement with Norway, in which the two nations agreed to cooperate further on defense, as RÚV reports.
The agreement between Iceland and Norway includes increased visitations and exercises and other defense operations of special military forces in Iceland. Störe said he did not expect Norwegian military jets to be stationed in Iceland in the long term.
Störe told reporters there would not be additional costs involved for Norway and that the operations were within the framework of the current grant given to the military. The minister emphasized that Iceland and Norway had a good relationship, though they didn’t always agree on fishing limits.
Iceland’s and Denmark’s agreement is a confirmation of the agreement reached in January on increased supervision of fishing and pollution. The Icelandic Coast Guard and the Danish Navy already cooperate to a considerable extent, but with yesterday’s agreement the cooperation will increase further.
The agreement also stipulates that Iceland will support Danish military forces during their exercises in Iceland, for example to cover the cost of Danish military exercises at Keflavík airport.
Iceland’s Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde said both agreements are framework agreements, which have yet to be completed. “We have yet to decide how the execution will be in detail.”
“I want to emphasize that we have a good relationship with both nations, our neighbors, both within NATO and the Nordic Region Co-Operative,” concluded Foreign Minister Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir.
The opposition parties in Iceland have mixed feelings towards the agreement.
Leader of the Social Democrats (Samfylkingin) Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir said the agreements involve cooperation in a neighboring spirit, while leader of the Left-Greens (Vinstri graenir) Steingrímur J. Sigfússon called it unnecessary “tumbling about.”