US government waited for Oddsson’s retirement to remove troops Skip to content

US government waited for Oddsson’s retirement to remove troops

US authorities waited until Iceland’s former Prime Minister Davíd Oddsson retired from politics to remove their troops from the Keflavík base, an article by historian Valur Ingimundarson published in Icelandic magazine Skírnir reveals. This is the main story in all Icelandic media today.

According to the article, US authorities had broached the subject of removing their fighter jets from Iceland on several occasions, an idea normally met by threats from Icelandic authorities to terminate the defense agreement that exists between the two countries. This was Oddsson’s response in 2003 when the removal of the fighter jets was brought up again that year.

A year later, Ingimundarson writes Oddsson received a “personal guarantee” that the US would not make a unilateral decision on the subject. When the longtime Prime Minister retired from politics last year, this agreement became invalid in the US’s view. Consequently US authorities decided to remove the jets, and were reportedly surprised by the stunned reaction from Icelandic authorities.

In the end, Iceland has not terminated the defense agreement as it threatened to do in the past.

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