Joint Declaration between Iceland and the United States on security and defense affairs
Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Lilja Alfreðsdóttir, and Deputy Secretary of Defence of the United States of America, Robert O. Work, signed today a Joint Declaration on security and defense affairs. The declaration supplements the Joint Statement between the countries that was signed in September 2006 when US military forces discontinued their permanent presence, and is based on the 1951 Defense Agreement.
"The security environment in Europe, including in the North Atlantic, has changed for the past 10 years and Icelandic and US authorities agree on the need to reflect this in a new declaration", states Foreign Minister Alfreðsdóttir.
US military activities in the North Atlantic have increased in recent years. The US military has, once a year since 2008, conducted NATO air surveillance in Iceland under the auspices of NATO and for the past two years ASWs have, on a rotational basis, been operating from Iceland. "In particular, we want, in this new declaration, to highlight the rotational presence of US military forces in Iceland, which constitutes a gradation in our cooperation and we want to formalize in this manner, as transparency remains very important in our relations. At the same time, the Declaration gives us a welcome opportunity to reiterate our mutual defense commitments and continued dialogue and consultations within a successful defense cooperations that has increased in recent years", states Minister Alfreðsdóttir.
The enclosed Joint Declaration stipulates, inter alia, continued support of the United States to the NATO air surveillance mission in Iceland and rotational presence of ASWs, close consultations on security and defense affairs, maintainance and operation of defense facilities, information exchange and practical cooperation, for example in the fields of search and rescue and disaster relief.
The signing took place in Reykjavík and Washington.