Sweden and Finland confirmed during the meeting of Nordic Foreign Ministers in Helsinki today their readiness to take part in air surveillance in Iceland in 2014. The participation of Sweden and Finland was first broached in the so-called Stoltenberg report of 2009 which provided recommendations to the Nordic countries on how to increase their cooperation in matters of foreign affairs and common security for the benefit of all.
In their joint statement, issued after the meeting, the Nordic Foreign Ministers concluded that they see the participation of Sweden and Finland in the air surveillance as a logical continuation of the close cooperation on exercises that the Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish air forces have established in the north. However, a final decision, including a due parliamentary process, can be taken in Finland and Sweden only after the matter has been discussed in NATO.
The Nordic Foreign Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the implementation of several key recommendations in the Stoltenberg report. One key example is the establishment of a Nordic cyber security network, which will make the five countries more resilient to cyber attacks in the future, and increased cooperation between the foreign services, i.e. plans for joint diplomatic representations in Asia, Europe and North America. Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland also expressed their interest in a joint complex in Reykjavik, where the individual embassies of the four countries could be co-located.
The Nordic Foreign Ministers are deeply concerned over the expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory. These settlements are in violation of international law and are the greatest obstacle to a two-state solution in the Middle East.
The Ministers are appalled by the continued bloodshed in Syria and noted their concern that the conflict could spread. They urged all Lebanese leaders to stand together against the forces that are seeking to undermine stability in the region.