Iceland Awaits Answer to Icesave Letter Skip to content

Iceland Awaits Answer to Icesave Letter

The Icelandic government has not received any formal answer to the letter sent yesterday to British and Dutch authorities in reaction to their counteroffer on the Icesave loan terms on Friday. In yesterday’s letter, Iceland declared itself prepared for further negotiations.

The Government Offices of Iceland. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.

It is unlikely that an answer will be received by the end of the day but the Icelandic government hopes to be given an answer by the end of this week, Fréttabladid reports.

According to the newspaper’s sources, Minister of Finance Steingrímur J. Sigfússon had conversations with ministers in the UK, the Netherlands and Norway yesterday.

Dutch Finance Minister Wouter Bos stepped down yesterday following the resignation of the Dutch government and one of his last duties in office was to talk with his Icelandic counterpart.

The conversations were informal and did not involve any answers or new offers.

Part of the Icelandic negotiation committee traveled to London yesterday prepared to meet with the British and Dutch committees when and if negotiations will resume.

US attorney and the committee’s chair Lee C. Buchheit, Gudmundur Árnason and Lárus Blöndal have arrived in London while Einar Gunnarsson and Jóhannes Karl Sveinsson are waiting in Iceland.

Icelandic officials are moderately optimistic that negotiations will resume, pointing out that no doors have yet been closed. However, the time for negotiations is short considering that the referendum on the Icesave legislation is scheduled for March 6.

According to Morgunbladid, the letter British and Dutch authorities sent with their counteroffer on Friday last week ended with the words: “This is our best offer.”

The Icelandic negotiation committee is uncertain whether this means that this was indeed their final offer and that they are not prepared to go back to the negotiating table.

The newspaper’s sources state that Buchheit was surprised by the wording, which is unusual at this stage of negotiation.

Buchheit allegedly told political leaders in Iceland that this may be a negotiation technique and that he is of the opinion that British and Dutch authorities are still open for talks as they are keen to avoid a referendum on the Icesave legislation.

Morally Iceland has the upper hand, Buchheit reasoned, as they have demonstrated fairness and responsibility by presenting their draft of an offer in London last week.

Click here to read more about Icesave.

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