Iceland reinforces its participation in NATO5.9. 2014The NATO Summit in Newport, Wales, concluded this afternoon. Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson and Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson participated in the meetings on Iceland´s behalf.
Earlier today, at a meeting amongst Allies, the Prime Minister announced Iceland´s intentions to reinforce participation and contributions to its national defences and NATO. This entails an increase in numbers of civilian experts under the auspices of NATO and further financial contributions to NATO programmes, including in Ukraine. The Government will also increase support to NATO air policing in Iceland, including in the area of Search and Rescue.
At their meetings, Allied leaders pledged to reverse the trend of declining defence budgets and agreed to a readiness action plan, which provides for more rapid response and increased military presence in Eastern Europe.
The Prime Minister underscored the importance of the transatlantic bond and collective defence in a transformed security landscape in Europe. The Prime Minister referred to the High North and the importance of situational awareness amongst Allies. The Minister expressed his gratitude to Allies who have participated in the air-policing mission in Iceland, which serves an important role in this respect. Also, the Prime Minister emphasised the value of cyber defence and maritime security, and the effective implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. Moreover, the Prime Minister expressed his grave concerns about the surge of the ISIL terrorist organisation in Iraq and Syria.
At a meeting with the President of Ukraine in the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which was convened yesterday, the Prime Minister reiterated Iceland´s support and solidarity with the Ukrainian Government, and condemned Russian actions in the country and the illegitimate annexation of Crimea. The Prime Minister encouraged parties to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.
At a meeting with ISAF contributing nations, which also took place yesterday, the Prime Minister reiterated Iceland´s continued support to Afghanistan after the ISAF mission will come to a close at the end of the year, as Afghanistan will remain one of Iceland´s priority partners in development co-operation. The Prime Minister underlined the importance of sustaining the hard earned gains during the course of the years, including in the field of human rights.
The Summit in Wales was the last Ministerial meeting under the leadership of Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who will step down at the end of the month. His successor, Mr. Jens Stoltenberg, former Prime Minister of Norway, will resume office on October 1.
Statements and declarations from the Summit are accessible on NATO´s official website nato.int.