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Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Minister Sveinsson meets with the NATO Secretary General

Gunnar Bragi ásamt Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson visited NATO headquarters in
Brussels today, where he met with the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh

At the meeting, the Foreign Minister discussed Iceland's foreign policy and
outlined the new government's priorities as regards security and defence
issues. The Minister emphasised the importance of NATO membership for
Iceland, which he describes as a cornerstone of Iceland´s defence. He also
underscored the importance of maintaining a close Trans-Atlantic
relationship, keeping up an active and a robust security and defence
cooperation between Allies.

The Minister hailed the willingness of Allies to participate and contribute
to the NATO Air Surveillance Mission in Iceland, where Italian air-squadron
is currently deployed and will be conducting the mission for the next
several weeks. He also discussed the forthcoming participation of Finland
and Sweden in Icelandic air surveillance, which is planned in conjunction
with a Norwegian deployment early next year. The Minister emphasised the
importance of Nordic cooperation in Iceland's foreign policy. He called
Finland's and Sweden's participation in the air surveillance an historic
step in Nordic cooperation, that was originally recommended by Thorvald
Stoltenberg, the former Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs of Norway,
in  2009.

The future challenges facing the Alliance were also discussed and how
member states can best strengthen and maintain their defence capabilities
in current times of financial austerity. Cyber security is among growing
challenges faced by the Alliance and the Secretary General welcomed the
decision by Iceland to join the NATO Centre of Excellence for Cyber Defence
in Estonia. 

The Minister emphasised also the importance of security and preparedness in
the High North. NATO's new Mission in Afghanistan, post 2014, was also
discussed and the Minister pledged  Iceland's willingness to contribute in
good cooperation with other Allies. The Minister underscored the importance
of gender equality and urged effective implementation of the United Nations
Security Council Resolutions on women, peace and security, in all aspects
of the Alliance's tasks, including in Afghanistan.

The Minister thanked the Secretary General for his steadfast support and
friendship towards Iceland and invited him to pay a visit to Iceland at the
earliest convenience.


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