Official talks between the Icelandic and US governments on the future of the defense cooperation are scheduled to begin in Reykjavík next week when a group of representatives from the US State and Defense Departments visits the country, reports the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service, RÚV.
US Deputy Secretary for State, Nicholas Burns, told RÚV yesterday that he had spoken to Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs a few times over the last few days and reconfirmed the US government’s obligations regarding the defense cooperation.
Burns was asked why the future of the defense cooperation had not been discussed before the US made an announcement last week that it would remove its jets from Keflavík Airport.
Burns rejected the view that the US’s unilateral decision to remove its forces from Iceland last week amounted to a cancellation of the Defense Agreement. He said he had received clear instructions from President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to communicate the message that the US government would continue to honor the agreement.