PM: Communication Failure Hampered Gaza Truce Resolution Skip to content
Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir
Photo: Golli. Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir.

PM: Communication Failure Hampered Gaza Truce Resolution

The Icelandic government has faced criticism for abstaining from a UN vote on a truce in Gaza due to a failed amendment condemning Hamas. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir expressed regret over the lack of support for the resolution and admitted that communication between ministries was inadequate.

A controversial abstention

Last Friday, Iceland abstained from voting on a UN resolution calling for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce in Gaza. The reason for the abstention was that an amendment to the resolution – proposed by Canada and backed by over 35 Member States, which sought to include an explicit condemnation of Hamas – failed to pass.

Iceland’s abstention faced immediate criticism at home. A professor of political science told RÚV that it was “yet another example of how divided the parties within Iceland’s governing coalition were.” Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir told the media that she had not been consulted, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pushing back against this claim, maintaining that the Prime Minister’s Office had been notified before the vote.

A failure of communication

Speaking from a Nordic Council session in Oslo yesterday, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir addressed, among other things, the statements that have been exchanged between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerning the vote. In her interview, Katrín emphasised that Iceland’s abstention was not to be interpreted as opposition to the main objective of the resolution: a ceasefire in Gaza and humanitarian aid to the region. On the contrary,  she would have voted for a compromise.

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Katrín observed: “I would have preferred that we seek ways to support the resolution even though it was not exactly as we would have liked. We, of course, voted for Canada’s amendment – but I would have liked to explore ways to support this resolution,” Katrín stated, noting that Norway, as the one Nordic country that approved the proposal, had chosen an alternative different path.

Katrín also admitted that communication between the Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry could have been better: “Clearly, the ministries should have communicated better beforehand on this issue, but events can unfold rapidly. Nonetheless, my stance on the matter remains unchanged.”

“No one really consulted me on this; that’s just how I see it,” Katrín stated. “This problem isn’t going away, and our conversations should really centre on that – especially given the terrible daily toll on civilian lives.”

Iceland’s vote in line with its foreign policy

Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson told RÚV yesterday that he, in his capacity as the leader of a governing party, had not been consulted on the vote in the United Nations General Assembly.

Bjarni observed that Iceland’s stance had been in line with the country’s foreign policy and in harmony with the majority of European nations and that of all the Nordic countries, with the exception of Norway.

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