Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson wrote about Sweden’s and Finland’s willingness to take part in air surveillance of Iceland in daily Fréttablaðið on Tuesday.
Össur Skarphéðinsson. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
“Sweden’s and Finland’s readiness to participate in air surveillance in Iceland—a disputed matter in some corners—is a highly political decision because it reveals yet another sign of the strength of Nordic solidarity, in good times and bad,” he wrote.
The minister referenced the assistance that the Nordic countries, namely Norway, provided to Iceland following the banking collapse as the best example of the close bonds between the nations.
In his article, Össur writes that the idea for air surveillance in Iceland by Sweden and Finland is based in part on a proposal for increased Nordic cooperation put forward in 2009. Furthermore, in 2011, the Nordic countries signed a declaration on solidarity when in harm’s way, either by natural or manmade causes.
As reported last month, it has not yet been decided whether the aircrafts will be armed. The ultimate decision is subject to approval by national parliaments, governments and NATO. NATO must approve the participation of the two non-NATO countries, Sweden and Finland, in the patrols.
According to Össur, the decision is primarily a symbolic declaration and does not impact the country’s relationship with NATO.
“The decision by Sweden and Finland does not bring any of these three countries closer to or further away from NATO. It is, however, a strong, symbolic declaration: The Nordic family stands together and looks out for each other, no matter what,” Össur concluded.
September 9 | New Agreement on Surveillance of Icelandic Airspace?