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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Icelandic Foreign Minister makes a formal complaint on British PM's comments

The Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ossur Skarphedinsson, today made a formal complaint on comments made by the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, during a session of Parliamentary question time. Minister Skarphedinsson called in the British Chargé d’Affaires to Iceland to deliver a protest. The Ambassador of Iceland to the United Kingdom has also delivered a letter to 10 Downing Street.

Minister Skarphedinsson said that the Prime Minister’s comments of 7 May related to financial losses of the Christie hospital were unhelpful. In his comments, Prime Minister Brown inaccurately stated that the UK authories were not the regulatory authority in the case of Kaupthing, Singer Friedlander Bank, where the Christie hospital funds were deposited. Furthermore, the Prime Minister claimed that the UK authorities were in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund on the rate at which Iceland can repay losses to British deposit holders.

Minister Skarphedinsson earlier today stresssed that Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander Bank is a British Bank, under the regulatory authority of the UK Financial Supervisory Authority. "We of course regret that the Christie hospital has suffered financially due to the seizure by the FSA of Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander, but there is no basis for linking this matter to the Icelandic depositors’ compensation scheme", said the Minister.

The Icelandic Foreign Minister also said that the statement by the British Prime Minister about the role of the IMF in this context was surprising. The implication that negotiations were taking place between the UK and the IMF on Iceland were worrying, since this would not be compatible with the Articles of Agreement of the IMF, Minister Skarphedinsson said.


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