“There is no need for a military force in Iceland,” said admiral Mark Stanhope, the second in command of NATO forces in the US according to Fréttabladid. The comment was made at a press conference held at NATO headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.
Admiral Stanhope said that there was no reason to keep military aircraft in Iceland “where they had little use”. Instead, they should be deployed where they are needed, and decisions in that regard should me made with consideration to the overall defence requirements of NATO.
Admiral Stanhope said he was not aware that Iceland was threatened by terrorism or an invasion by another country. If military action in Iceland was required, NATO forces would arrive in Iceland within a few days. Military jets could be deployed even faster.
“This is one of the things we are discussing,” said soon-to-be Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde when Fréttabladid asked him about the admiral’s comments.
“It is evident that the senior commanders of the US military believe that circumstances have changed considerably, and, to a large extent, we agree,” said Geir to Fréttabladid.
When asked if he had received any communication from the US government concerning the continuation of the discussions about the defences of Iceland, and if the US believed there was anything to discuss, he replied: “Yes, we have received such communication. We have received communication how that matter should be closed.”
Separately, Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV, quotes Geir H. Haarde saying he “agrees with the US that the rationale for the defence collaboration between the two countries have changed.”