Icelandic and U.S. authorities have agreed to prepare co-operation regarding the effects of the travel restrictions placed by American authorities on European countries due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson and State Secretary Mike Pompeo discussed the economic effects the ban will have and agreed in principle to co-operate once the pandemic has subsided. This discussion took place in a phone meeting yesterday. A face to face meeting had been planned in Washington DC last Thursday but had to be cancelled due to the travel ban.
The temporary travel ban affects all foreign nationals from China, Iran as well as European countries that are part of the Schengen agreement. People both from these countries, as well as those who have visited any of the countries in the last 14 days, are banned from entering the United States of America due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We had a good conversation and I expressed my disappointment at the measures taken by the US government, and now by the European Union. We have to explore all avenues to minimize the damage that these measures will cause. We will also have to come to terms with the position which we’re in right now, which is of course without precedent, and it is urgent that we stop the spread of the virus with significant scientific actions. All the while, it was important to emphasise the continuing good relations between the two countries, and we agreed on that,” said Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór.
Passenger service to continue
Guðlaugur Þór placed emphasis on the effects on passenger-carrying operations between the two countries, especially due to Iceland’s position in between North-America and Europe. The pair also spoke of the importance of taking on the economic effects of the pandemic, not least for international air travel.
“The Minister for Foreign Affairs placed emphasis on the effects on Icelandair flights towards and from North America, and the need to review the state of matters once the pandemic has subsided. He and the State Secretary agreed to prepare co-operation between experts from the two countries regarding these matters, as well preparing further economic co-operation between the countries in a larger context,” a release from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs stated.