Today Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, presented his annual report to Parliament on Foreign and International affairs. In his statement the Foreign Minister said that „our foreign policy is continuously being molded and shaped and when we speak on Iceland's behalf, our viewpoints are centered on our core values and vital interests. These foundations are solid as a rock”. In the speech the Minister discussed the Foreign Ministry's Consular Services which have grown substantially in recent years. In total the Foreign Ministry estimates that it receives over 30.000 inquiries annually and most of these in Iceland's Embassies in Copenhagen, Oslo and London.
The Foreign Minister focused on European security. He said that threats to Europe's security and stability are a cause for concern that must be taken seriously. “The debate on Europe's security has been revitalized. The grave situation in the Eastern part of Europe has exposed that some of Europe's old ghosts of hostility have been resurrected. We have witnessed with great horror the atrocities by the terrorist organisation ISIS and their alarming tactics. Terrorist actions in our close vicinity and among our closest friends underscore the fact that no country is safe,” Minister Sveinsson said in his statement. He said that Iceland needs to remain vigilant and ensure that operational capabilities and necessary precautionary measures are in place. The Foreign Minister referred to work that has been undertaken to formulate a National Security Policy for Iceland and said that a parliamentary resolution is currently in its final stages of preparation. Minister Sveinsson said that for the first time since independence Iceland was taking substantial steps towards a holistic policy on national security. In that context he underlined that Iceland's national security rests on international cooperation, in particular Iceland´s membership in NATO and the bilateral Defence Agreement with the United States.
In his statement the Foreign Minister discussed the crisis in Ukraine and said that the current conflict and Russia‘s intervention had made European leaders acutely aware of the necessity to defend core values such as respect for international law, freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law. He said that the Government of Iceland emphasises that the international community continues to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict where the people of Ukraine enjoy freedom and are able to choose their future path in a democratic way.