Foreign Minister Sveinsson and General Bartels expressed satisfaction with NATO‘s air surveillance missions in Iceland which began five years ago. During this period, eight Allies have participated in 16 missions. The Minister and General Bartels discussed the possibility of increasing the number of missions from three to four each year, in accordance with the North Atlantic Council decision in 2007. Minister Sveinsson said that the participation of Sweden and Finland in air surveillance next February is an important milestone in Nordic defence cooperation.
The Minister stressed the importance of gender equality in the work of the Alliance, in particular implementation of UN Security Council resolutions on women, peace and security. The increased importance of cyber security was also discussed, as Iceland prepares for participation in the Centre of Excellence for Cyber Defence in Estonia. General Bartels thanked for Iceland´s contribution to NATO‘s operations in Afghanistan and earlier missions in Kosovo. He commended Iceland for the substantial host nation support provided to the air surveillance mission.
Before the meeting, General Bartels held a lecture on NATO now and in the future: Operations, missions and challenges at the Nordic House. He also met with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Parliament and visited the new Joint Operations Center of the Icelandic Coast Guard.