The probability of the military naval base at Keflavík closing greatly increased yesterday when the US State Department requested not to be involved in the defense discussions with the Icelanders reports television station Stöd 2. In the future, the National Security Agency will be responsible for the discussions which, according to Stöd 2, indicates that the Defense Department will achieve its goal of closing the base.
According to Stöd 2, up until now, the US State Department has resisted the US Defense Department’s goal of closing the Keflavík Naval Base.
US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, will no longer be supervising the discussions on behalf of the US. Stöd 2 reports that after last week’s brusque meetings between the US and Icelandic delegations, the US State Department has run out of patience and asked to be removed from the case.
Stöd 2 reports that the Icelandic delegation relentlessly referred to the fact that former prime minister Davíd Oddsson and president George Bush had discussed the matter on the telephone which, according to Icelandic delegation, implied that the matter was not in the power of representatives from the US State Department.
Stöd 2 reports its sources confirm that the Steve Hadley, assistant to the president for national security affairs, has agreed to assume responsibility for the discussions. Hadley replaced Rice in the position and has a reputation of being a hardliner. According to Stöd 2, Hadley is close to both vice president Dick Cheney and minister of defense Donald Rumsfeld. Foreign affairs minister Geir H. Haarde would not grant Stöd 2 an interview yesterday.
An unnamed source within the US government told Stöd 2 this development shows how tired the US delegation is of the discussions with the Icelanders. The source also told Stöd 2 that even though the matter is now in the hands of the most senior people in the White House it is not necessarily a good sign for the the Icelandic government; rather it is likely that the US State Department will give in to the defense department hardlines. Therefore it is more likely that sooner or later the Keflavík Naval Base will be closed and all future decisions concerning the base will solely take place in Washington.