Hoppa yfir valmynd


Nov 28, 2023Mobile field hospital donated by Iceland operational in Ukraine

<p><span>The mobile field hospital, which Alþingi, the Icelandic Parliament, decided in the spring to donate to the Ukrainian people, has arrived in Ukraine and is operational. The total cost of the project amounted to EUR 7.4 million, or approximately ISK 1.1 billion. The mobile field hospital is an important contribution and is useful in caring for wounded soldiers and civilians near the battlefield.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <span class="blockqoude">"We are particularly pleased to be able to support our friends in Ukraine directly with this contribution. The cooperation with Estonia and Germany in this project has been exemplary and we are pleased to know that the hospital will be useful in saving lives and help to alleviate the suffering of those wounded in the nation's legitimate defence against the Russian invading forces," says Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs.&nbsp;</span></span></p> <p><span>The hospital consists of ten container units that form a fully equipped hospital that can be run independently and without support for days. The units can be arranged as needed at any given time and linked to other similar hospitals. The field hospital includes fully equipped operating rooms, intensive care rooms, a reception and diagnostic unit, support units with generators, oxygen press, disinfection facilities, toilet and bath and laundry facilities as well as specialized storage spaces.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The capacity of the hospital is significant, as it has berths for 40 patients at any one time and can treat 240 patients per day and up to 24 seriously injured. The hospital's container units are then transported from place to place on specially equipped military trucks, donated by the German military for the project.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> The project was carried out in close collaboration with Estonia where the hospitals were designed and manufactured. The Estonian military was also responsible for training the Ukrainians running the hospital. Previously, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany had donated similar hospitals in collaboration with Estonia, that can be interlinked as needed.</span></p>

Nov 16, 2023Robert Spano elected to the Board of the Register of Damage for Ukraine

<p><span>Robert Spano of Iceland was today elected to serve on the Board of the Register of Damage caused by the Aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. The election took place at the meeting of Participants of the Enlarged Partial Agreement on the Register of Damage for Ukraine that took place in Strasbourg. Of the members of the Board elected today, Robert Spano obtained the second highest number of cotes along with the Italian candidate.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>“The Register of Damage was one of the main outcomes of the Reykjavík Summit for the benefit of Ukraine and a significant step towards ensuring accountability for the aggression of Russia against Ukraine. It is critical that the continued establishment of the Register of Damage is successful, and we are pleased that an experienced Icelandic expert can contribute to that end,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Bjarni Benediktsson.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The Register is established for an initial period of three years and will serve as a record of evidence and claims information on damage, loss or injury caused by the Russian aggression against Ukraine. It paves the way towards a future international comprehensive compensation mechanism for the victims of the Russian aggression.</span></p> <p><span>At the Reykjavík Summit on 16-17 May 2023, 44 leaders signed the Register of Damage for Ukraine that is a part of the Council of Europe’s framework but located in the Hague, the Netherlands.&nbsp;<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Oct 27, 2023The Icelandic people want to support Ukraine

<p><span>An overwhelming majority of Icelanders, or close to 82 % of participants are in favour of Iceland supporting Ukraine in the war with Russia, while 7 % oppose. Additionally, 86.5 % support Iceland’s efforts in sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine, and 68.6 % are in favour of economic support for Ukraine.</span></p> <p><span>These are some of the results from an <a href="https://www.maskina.is/maelabord/utn-allir-english/" target="_blank">annual survey</a>&nbsp;made by Maskína for the Icelandic Ministry for Foreign Affairs about various aspects of the Icelandic Foreign Service.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Interestingly, 35.8 % say they are in favour of giving direct military support to Ukraine, for example by paying for the training of soldiers, munitions or the transport of munitions, while 38.9 % are in opposition. A similar question was posed in the 2022 survey, shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, then 21.3 % said they were in favour of military support for Ukraine while 52 % said they opposed it.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Additionally, 83.8 % of the Icelandic people oppose any cooperation between Iceland and Russia in the international arena, and when asked with which states they think Iceland should not engage with in international cooperation, most people, or 25.3 %, mentioned Russia, followed by China (12 %), North Korea (8.1 %) and Belarus (5.3 %). When asked which states they think Iceland has the most in common with, most respondents mentioned the Nordic countries, i.e. Norway (16.8 %), Denmark (15.8 %), Sweden (13.3 %) and Finland (8.4 %), followed by the United States (7 %). 77.4 % consider it important for Iceland to supply assistance to developing states and their inhabitants.</span></p> <h2><span>Many are concerned about international affairs</span></h2> <p><span>Over half of the respondents, or 55.6 %, say they are concerned about international affairs, while only 9.1 % say they are not concerned. A total of 61.5 % say they are more concerned now than they were a year ago. It should be added that last year, 75.5 % said they were more concerned than they were the previous year.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>68.2 % are concerned about the spread of fake news, 65.8 % say that Iceland should make special efforts in support of freedom of expression in the international community, and 61.9 % think that Iceland should make a special effort in the fight against hate speech.&nbsp;</span></p> <h2><span>Positive views on Nordic cooperation</span></h2> <p><span>When asked about Iceland’s participation in international cooperation, Icelanders have the most positive attitude towards Nordic cooperation, with 87.9 % taking a positive view of Iceland being actively involved in Nordic cooperation. Furthermore, a total of 58.5 % say they have a positive view of Iceland being party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (the EEA Agreement), while 10.9 % say they take a negative view.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Public support for Iceland's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) (62.6 %) has decreased slightly from last year, when it increased by almost 20 %. Then over 70 % of Icelanders said they viewed Iceland’s membership in NATO positively, compared with just over 50 % the year before. The same applies to the public’s attitude towards Iceland’s defence cooperation with the United States. Currently 53.7 % say they have a positive view of this cooperation, whereas last year it was 60.7 % compared to 43.1 % in 2021.</span></p> <p><span>The survey was conducted online between the 4th and 8th of May 2023, with 1,017 respondents. The data was weighted for gender, age, area of residence, and education, in line with information from the civil status records. All the result of the survey can be accessed via this link: <a href="https://www.maskina.is/maelabord/utn-allir-english/" target="_blank">https://www.maskina.is/maelabord/utn-allir-english/</a><br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Oct 02, 2023The Minister for Foreign Affairs visits the new mobile field hospital for Ukraine

<p><span>The Foreign Minister went on a two-day official working visit to Estonia last week. During the visit, she met with Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna and Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur. Furthermore, the Minister visited the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre, where Iceland is one of the member nations, in the capital Tallinn. She then inspected the new mobile field hospital that will soon be donated to Ukraine, the hospital is&nbsp;</span>financed by Iceland and developed and produced in Estonia.&nbsp;</p> <p><span>Bilateral cooperation, support for Ukraine, security developments and the growing Nordic-Baltic cooperation were among key topics during the meeting of Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs, with the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"Estonia is one of our closest partners. Here, Iceland enjoys great goodwill as elsewhere in the Baltic countries because of Iceland’s support during their struggle for independence in the early nineties. This is a society that fought for its independence and has subsequently flourished. This was not done without effort, education, ambition, and competitiveness and it has resulted in a thriving innovation sector that creates great value and interesting jobs. Estonia's professional and dedicated efforts in international forums, including NATO and the United Nations, attract attention, not least because of their unwavering support for Ukraine's defence," says Þórdís Kolbrún. "In my conversation here there is a strong emphasis on the importance of fundamental values in international affairs, respect for international law, human rights and the rule of law," she adds.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>During the Foreign Minister's meeting with Estonian Defence Minister Hanno Pevkur, the conflict in Ukraine, Russia's military presence, NATO defence capabilities and the preparations of the mobile field hospital for Ukraine were among the topics discussed. The Ministers also visited Tartu where the field hospital is being prepared.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"The hospital will help save lives and alleviate the suffering of those who put their lives and health on the line to defend Ukraine from Russian invaders. We are grateful to be able in this way to support Ukraine's legitimate defence struggle, but of course, it comes with sadness to think of the injustices suffered by the Ukrainian nation at the hands of Russia. We have worked on this project in excellent collaboration with Estonia and Germany, who provide vehicles to move the hospital from place to place, which is a very big contribution, for which we are grateful," says Þórdís Kolbrún. In the coming weeks, training will commence for the Ukrainian team, who will be running the hospital.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Finally, the Minister for Foreign Affairs also visited an exhibition by the Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir's, Shoplifter, and had lunch with Urmas Klass, the mayor of Tartu.<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Aug 01, 2023Iceland increases its presence in Ukraine

The Ministries for Foreign Affairs for Iceland and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania have agreed to a Memorandum of Understanding that will grant diplomats and other representatives of Iceland access to office facilities at the Embassy of Lithuania in Kyiv. Iceland plans to increase its presence in a show of solidarity with Ukraine during Russia's illegitimate aggression against Ukraine.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> „Lithuania is one of Iceland's closest friends on the international stage. We are honored to have been offered this co-operation. It will be very valuable to us as Lithuania has a strong and established presence in Kyiv. We expect that our relations with Ukraine will continue to strengthen in the foreseeable future, and as we currently do not have plans to open an embassy in Kyiv this collaboration is an excellent starting point. The generous offer by our Lithuanian allies will help us in our ambition to be a good and reliable friend to Ukraine and will give us access not only to facilities but to people who have knowledge and know-how that they are willing to share," says Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> “In recent years we saw a real spur in Nordic-Baltic cooperation on political and also very practical levels. Together with Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and other Nordic colleagues we were in Kyiv, together we call for maximised transatlantic efforts to accelerate Ukraine's victory. As of now, “shoulder to shoulder” is not only a metaphor but yet another proof of cooperation between Iceland and Lithuania,” – says Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania.<br /> <br /> Ambassador Hannes Heimisson presented his credentials to President Volodymyr Zelensky in June. Ambassador Heimisson is based in Warsaw, where he serves as Ambassador of Iceland to Poland.&nbsp;<br /> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Jul 05, 2023Iceland provides equipment for Ukrainian EOD teams

<p><span>Iceland, together with the Nordic countries and Lithuania, has since March this year been leading an EOD training programme in Lithuania. Iceland has decided in connection with the training to provide roughly 50 million ISK worth of basic EOD equipment for the Ukrainian teams that can be used during the training and later brought back with the teams to Ukraine.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The aim of the EOD training programme is to enable the Ukrainian military to detect and destroy unexploded bombs in Ukraine following Russia's invasion, with unexploded bombs of various kinds believed to be present in up to a fifth of Ukrainian territory. The training is part of strengthening Ukraine's defence forces and reducing the risk of harm to the civilian population.<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

May 31, 2023Training for Ukrainian soldiers in combat medicine

<span></span> <p>Iceland has joined a UK-led training programme for Ukrainian soldiers. The programme aims to train trainers in combat medicine so that they can pass on their knowledge to other soldiers in the field. </p> <p>Experience has shown that quick and correct responses on the battlefield can greatly increase the life expectancy and prognosis of those injured in conflict. “We are proud to be able to contribute to this important training mission, which hopefully can decrease the number of casualties caused by Russia's war of aggression,” says Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir. </p> <p>The training takes place in the United Kingdom and instructors from the Greater Reykjavik District Fire and Rescue Service, who have special training as paramedics, participate in the programme on behalf of Iceland.</p>

May 23, 2023Support for fuel transportation of the Ukrainian army

<div> <p paraid="1071788187" paraeid="{33c6b110-02ba-46fb-a069-c663ff0d3920}{161}">The Government of Iceland has responded swiftly to Ukraine's request for increased capacity for fuel transportation, by purchasing ten fuel trucks for the Armed Forces of Ukraine, two of which were delivered in the past week.</p> <p paraid="1071788187" paraeid="{33c6b110-02ba-46fb-a069-c663ff0d3920}{161}">Transportation of fuel is critical to the defense capabilities and mobility of the Ukrainian armed forces in the face of Russian aggression. Therefore, Ukraine has requested its friends and allies to assist in providing such vehicles. Iceland has responded to this request by purchasing ten used oil trucks from an European supplier. Two trucks were delivered last week and the rest will be delivered in the coming weeks.</p> <p paraid="1071788187" paraeid="{33c6b110-02ba-46fb-a069-c663ff0d3920}{161}">"Since the beginning of the invasion, our emphasis has been on supporting Ukraine according to their wishes and needs and our capabilities. We do not provide the Ukrainian army with weapons or other military equipment. We can, however, contribute by providing fuel trucks, of which there is a noticeable shortage, and we can do this swiftly when such a need arises," says Foreign Minister Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland.</p> <p paraid="1071788187" paraeid="{33c6b110-02ba-46fb-a069-c663ff0d3920}{161}">The total cost of the trucks, their procurement and delivery is 400,000 euros.</p> </div>

May 23, 2023End of Iceland’s Presidency of the Council of Europe

<p><span>The Reykjavík Summit of the Council of Europe last week marked the end of Iceland’s Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. Latvia has now taken over the Presidency.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>“From the moment we took over the Presidency last November, we have taken our role and responsibility seriously. Our biggest task was to reinforce and strengthen the core values of the Council of Europe – democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and I am proud that Iceland was able to contribute to the important decisions made for Ukraine at the Summit in Reykjavík last week,” says Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs.</span></p> <p>Iceland took over the Presidency in November last year, in the wake of the brutal war of aggression against Ukraine. Support for Ukraine became front and centre during Iceland’s Presidency as well as the reinforcement of the core values of the Council of Europe – democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Other priorities of the Icelandic Presidency were the environment, equality, and children and youth. </p> <p>Iceland’s Presidency has been eventful, with many topics having been on the agenda in Strasbourg, Iceland and further, as part of Iceland’s <a href="https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-for-Foreign-Affairs/CoE-formennskuvefur/Icelandic Priorities.pdf" target="_blank">Presidency programme</a>. Strengthening the core values of the Council of Europe and support for Ukraine were at the centre of Iceland’s Presidency and of the Reykjavík Summit. Furthermore, Iceland has hosted events on the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, and on the topic of children and the Barnahús-model to mention a few. Iceland also emphasized LGBTI+ rights during its Presidency and hosted the annual IDAHOT+ forum in Reykjavík earlier this month, one of the most important platforms for the assessment of rights of LGBTI+ persons in Europe.</p> <p>Lastly, Iceland ran a diverse <a href="https://www.government.is/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-for-Foreign-Affairs/CoE-formennskuvefur/EMS_2022_Presidence_Islande_Programme_BD.pdf" target="_blank">cultural programme</a>&nbsp;in Strasbourg during its Presidency, where the people of Strasbourg were invited to attend Icelandic cultural events on literature, cinema, children’s theater, gastronomy and more. </p> <p>Latvia has now taken over the Presidency of the Council of Europe from Iceland. This was the third time Iceland held the Presidency since it joined the Council in 1950, the last ones in 1955 and in 1999.</p>

Mar 15, 2023Prime Minister and the Minister for Foreign Affairs visited Ukraine and met with Volodomyr Zelensky

<p><span>Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir met with President of Ukraine Volodomyr Zelensky in Kyiv yesterday. The situation in Ukraine, Iceland’s support and the upcoming Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Council of Europe, where Iceland currently holds presidency, were among the topics of the meeting. The Prime Minister announced that Iceland’s support to Ukraine will amount to 2.25 billion ISK in 2023. Last year’s support was 2.2 billion ISK.</span></p> <p><span>At the invitation of President Zelensky the Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs travelled to Ukraine and arrived early yesterday morning. The purpose of the visit was to show support for the Ukrainian people and to make preparations for the Summit, where the war in Ukraine will be a focal point the potential of establishing a register of damages resulting from the Russian aggression will be examined as well as ways to hold Russian authorities accountable. </span></p> <p><span>The Ministers visited Borodianka and Bucha where they had the chance to witness first hand the sign of war crimes committed there. The visit was followed by a short ceremony where the Prime Minister laid flowers at a wall of remembrance in Kyiv. After that they met with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyal, Deputy Prime Minister Olhu Stefanishyna, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Minister of Energy, German Galuschenko.</span></p> <h4><span>Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir:</span></h4> <p><span>„Iceland’s Presidency in the Council of Europe comes at an unusual point in time in Europe, where a war is being waged. The Council of Europe is a core institution of the continent where respect for international law, democracy and human rights are upheld. This task requires a humble approach as it is both huge and important. Our visit to Kiyv is a part of our duty as the holders of presidency and at the same time we want to show the Ukrainian people our sincere unity and support”.</span></p> <h4><span>Minister for Foreign Affairs Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir:</span></h4> <p><span>„This visit leaves us with deep respect for the courage that the Ukrainian nation has shown since the start of the Russian invasion. To get a chance to witness first hand the cruelty that this society has suffered is heart breaking but at the same time the optimism and confidence of the Ukrainian people is uniquely inspiring. Iceland can lend its support to the people of Ukraine both by setting an example on the international arena and with the continuation of direct economic support to Ukraine.”</span></p> <p><span><a href="/library/01-Ministries/Prime-Ministrers-Office/Ukraine-Iceland%20Joint%20Declaration.pdf">Joint statement by Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky</a></span></p>

Oct 03, 2022JEF Defence Ministers Statement

<p>Following the deliberate damage caused to the Nord Stream pipelines in the Baltic Sea, today Defence Ministers of the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) met virtually to share assessments of the blatant and irresponsible attacks against critical civilian infrastructure.</p> <p>The JEF condemns in the strongest terms the reckless sabotage in the Baltic Sea. It is discussing security responses, including increased maritime presence and Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance activities. It will seek to deter further such acts, reassure allies and demonstrate collective commitment to the security and stability of the region. Ministers discussed increasing shared intelligence assessments to ensure common situational awareness, as well as cooperation to secure critical infrastructure. The JEF will ensure complementarity, alignment and transparency with NATO as well as the investigation led by Danish, Swedish and German authorities.</p> <p>The JEF is a group of like-minded nations – Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom. The nations share the same purpose, values and a common focus on security and stability in the JEF core regions of the High North, North Atlantic and Baltic Sea region. The JEF provides a responsive, capable, and ready military force that undertakes integrated activities at sea, on land and in the air, across northern Europe. These activities are preventative and proportionate and demonstrate solidarity, capability, and resolve to stand together for security and stability in the JEF core regions.</p>

Aug 26, 2022Presidents and Foreign Ministers of the Baltic States visit Iceland

<span></span> <p><span>The foreign ministers of the Baltic states and Iceland signed a Joint Declaration today at a gathering in Höfði, Reykjavík, celebrating three decades of diplomatic relations between the countries. In the Declaration, the countries reaffirm their sincere commitment to cooperation, condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and underscore their solidarity with the Ukrainian people. </span></p> <p><span>The presidents of the Baltic countries are on an official visit to Iceland along with their entourages. The occasion for the visit is that today marks 30 years since the countries resumed diplomatic relations after Iceland was the first to recognise the restored independence of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania following the fall of the Soviet Union. </span></p> <p><span>This morning, a special celebratory gathering was held in Höfði, Reykjavík, where Mayor Dagur B. Eggertsson welcomed the guests. Short addresses were then given by Egils Levits, President of Latvia, Gitanas Nausèda, President of Lithuania, and Alar Karis, President of Estonia, after which Minister for Foreign Affairs Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir recounted the milestone and put it in historical perspective. </span></p> <p><span>“It was also here on this day in August – 31 years ago that the Foreign Ministers of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and the Foreign Minister of Iceland, Mr Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson, signed the documents establishing diplomatic relations between each of the three Baltic countries and Iceland. In the political context of that time - this event was unusual,” Foreign Minister Gylfadóttir said in the address and added that other countries had followed suit and that the Baltic states had quickly gained international recognition as free and sovereign states.</span></p> <p><span>After the address, Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lativa, Urmas Reinsalu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia and Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, signed a <a href="/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-for-Foreign-Affairs/PDF-skjol/Hofdi-Declaration2022%20ENG.pdf">Joint Declaration </a>marking three decades since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between Iceland and the three countries. In the Declaration, the ministers reaffirm their political solidarity and their strong interest in further cultivating mutual friendship, fostering bilateral trade and connectivity, as well as enhancing international cooperation. </span></p> <p><span>The ministers go on to condemn “Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and unlawful war in Ukraine” and stress their steadfast unity with the Ukrainian people and commitment to provide further support for Ukraine as it stands up to Russia’s aggression “for all of Europe and values we share”. At the same time, the ministers underline their unwavering commitment to multilateralism, human rights and the democratic values on which the international system is based and declare support for free trade and reiterate the importance of cooperation on defence and security. They go on to state that addressing climate change is “more important than ever and a priority in our cooperation”. </span></p> <p><span>The visit by the leaders of the Baltic countries began yesterday with a visit to Althingi Parliament House and an official dinner at Bessastaðir at the invitation of President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson. After the gathering in Höfði this morning, the presidents and foreign ministers along with their retinues went to the University of Iceland. There, the President of Iceland delivered a talk on Icelandic support for Baltic independence, after which all the presidents participated in a panel discussion moderated by the Rector of the University of Iceland. The presidents then went to Viðey Island where Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir hosted a lunch. At the same time, the foreign ministers met for an informal lunch in central Reykjavík. In the afternoon, the heads of state and their delegations will visit the Hellisheiði geothermal power plant where they will be given presentations on the utilisation of green energy and the work of the Icelandic company Carbfix. From there, the group heads to Þingvellir where the official programme of the visit concludes.</span></p> <p><span><a href="/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-for-Foreign-Affairs/PDF-skjol/Hofdi-Declaration2022%20ENG.pdf">Full text of the Joint Declaration</a></span></p>

Jun 08, 2022Defence Ministers of the Northern Group met in Reykjavik

<p>Regional security in Northern Europe was the main topic of the ministerial meeting of the Northern Group which concluded in Reykjavik today.</p> <p>The ministers issued <a href="https://www.government.is/news/article/2022/06/08/Joint-Statement-by-the-Ministers-of-Defence-of-the-Northern-Group/">a joint statement i</a>n which they underline their condemnation of Russia’s invasion into Ukraine and their solidarity in face of the threat that the invasion poses to security in Europe and in the North Atlantic region. </p> <p>Iceland is currently chairing the Northern Group. Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs, chaired the meeting.</p> <p>The Ministers visited the security zone at Keflavik Airport. “It is valuable for us to be able to provide insight to our closest allies and partners into how we in Iceland manage our security and defence, and how we contribute to our shared security environment in the North Atlantic and the Arctic as a nation without armed forces. It is also important in light of the security situation in Europe, which we discussed in our meeting this morning and affects all our nations,” Minister Gylfadóttir says. </p> <p>The Northern Group is a security and defence forum of twelve like-minded Northern European nations. All the Nordic countries are members of the group, the Baltic states, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany. The Chair rotates every six months and will be assumed by Norway mid-year. </p> <p>Yesterday, on the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, Minister Gylfadóttir and Morten Bødskov, Minister of Defence of Denmark, signed a Memorandum of Understanding on increasing security and defence cooperation between the two countries. </p>

Jun 08, 2022Joint statement on the limited resumption of Arctic Council cooperation

<span></span> <p style="text-align: justify;"><span>In response to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a flagrant violation of the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity, based on international law, the other Arctic Council founding states - Canada, Finland, Iceland, the Kingdom of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the United States - on March 3 announced a pause in their participation in the Arctic Council. Since March 3, representatives from these States have examined modalities to allow a resumption of the work in the Arctic Council.</span></p> <p>We remain convinced of the enduring value of the Arctic Council for circumpolar cooperation and reiterate our support for this forum and its important work. </p> <p>We intend to implement a limited resumption of our work in the Arctic Council, in projects that do not involve the participation of the Russian Federation. These projects, contained in the workplan approved by all eight Arctic States at the Reykjavik ministerial, are a vital component of our responsibility to the people of the Arctic, including Indigenous Peoples. </p> <p>We continue to examine additional modalities to allow us to further continue the Council’s important work. </p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span></p>

May 11, 2022Iceland's support for Ukraine reaches one billion ISK

<span></span> <p><span style="color: #0e101a;">Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir attended the High-Level International Donors’ Conference for Ukraine which took place in Warsaw earlier this month.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #0e101a;">At the conference, Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir announced a significant increase in Iceland's humanitarian and economic assistance to Ukraine with an additional contribution of 425 million ISK. </span></p> <p><span style="color: #0e101a;">The </span>pledge<span style="color: #0e101a;"> brings Iceland's total </span>support for Ukraine this year <span style="color: #0e101a;">to ISK one billion, equivalent to about €7.2 million</span>. <span style="color: #0e101a;">510 million ISK</span> have already been allocated to<span style="color: #0e101a;"> humanitarian assistance</span> through international organizations and <span style="color: #0e101a;">260 million</span> ISK have been allocated to<span style="color: #0e101a;"> economic emergency assistance to Ukraine</span> through the World Bank‘s multi-donor trust funds for Ukraine.</p> <p><span style="color: #0e101a;">"With this additional contribution we almost double our previous support for Ukraine, with a continued focus on humanitarian aid, support for those fleeing the conflict and vulnerable groups, as well as providing economic aid. Icelanders are eager to do everything they can to support Ukraine," says Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #0e101a;">In her address to the conference, the Prime Minister reiterated the Government's unequivocal condemnation of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. The invasion is a serious violation of international law and its consequences are devastating for the civilian population of Ukraine. Special focus must be on the war's effect on women and children, not least when it comes to gender-based violence and human trafficking. Jakobsdóttir applauded the people of Poland and other neighbours of Ukraine for welcoming millions of refugees to their countries. Iceland remains a committed member of the broad international coalition in support of Ukraine.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #0e101a;">The conference was hosted by the Prime Ministers of Poland and Sweden, the President of the European Commission, and the President of the European Council.</span></p>

May 09, 2022President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s address to the Icelandic Parliament

<p><span>Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, addressed members of the Icelandic Parliament (Althingi), the President of Iceland and the Government of Iceland in a live video address at a special session of Althingi on Friday 6 May. He was the first ever foreign head of state to address the Parliament of Iceland.</span></p> <p><span><a href="https://www.president.gov.ua/en/news/promova-prezidenta-ukrayini-v-altingu-parlamenti-islandiyi-74845" target="_blank">Here is an English transcript</a> of Zelensky‘s address.</span></p> <p><span>Following his address, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir delivered a speech reaffirming Iceland's steadfast support for Ukraine. Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of Iceland, and Birgir Ármannsson, Speaker of the Althingi, also gave short addresses at the beginning of the meeting.</span></p> <p><span>“Your words challenge us to resist manufactured war narratives and to offer unreserved solidarity with Ukraine. I can assure you that the Icelandic government is prepared to do everything in its power to help the Ukrainian people during this time of exceptional need. We are resolutely part of the broad international alliance supporting Ukraine. As a non-armed country, Iceland’s support has been civilian in nature. We have primarily provided humanitarian and economic assistance and pledged to do more,” said Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir <a href="https://www.stjornarradid.is/raduneyti/forsaetisraduneytid/forsaetisradherra/stok-raeda-forsaetisradherra/2022/05/09/Avarp-Katrinar-Jakobsdottur-forsaetisradherra-til-Volodymyr-Zelenski-forseta-Ukrainu-vid-serstaka-athofn-a-Althingi-6.-mai-202/" target="_blank">in her speech</a>.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Iceland stands in full solidarity with Ukraine and will continue to align itself completely with EU sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the invasion, provide humanitarian and financial assistance to Ukraine, and offer asylum to those seeking refuge from the conflict.</span></p> <p><span>The special session of the Althingi can be watched here:</span></p> <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/707869346?h=cf91999b36" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; fullscreen; picture-in-picture" title="President Volodymyr Zelenskys address to the Icelandic Parliament" description="President Volodymyr Zelensky address the Icelandic Parliament"></iframe>

Apr 25, 2022Iceland to welcome up to 140 vulnerable refugees from Ukraine

<p>The Government of Iceland approved on April 22 a recommendation of the Prime Minister, Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market, Minister of Justice, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Minister of Health, and the Minister of Education and Children to accept the proposals of the Refugee Committee to specifically welcome groups of vulnerable refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.</p> <p>On 22 March, the Government approved a proposal by the Minister of Social Affairs and the Labour Market, Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson, to task the Refugee Committee with making proposals to welcome groups of especially vulnerable refugees from Ukraine. The committee was also tasked with making proposals on how to help Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, which have received high numbers of refugees since the invasion began.</p> <p>The Government’s first response and actions in keeping with the Refugee Committee’s proposals will be as follows:</p> <ul style="list-style-type: disc;"> <li>Receive up to 100 individuals who have fled to Moldova from Ukraine. Moldova is one of Europe’s poorest countries but has received about 450,000 refugees and is facing challenges in providing them with the help they need.</li> <li>Receive five to seven disabled children and their families. An appeal has come from polish authorities for other countries to receive disabled children from Ukraine currently situated in Poland. It is essential to take good care of this group, which requires substantial support and services. The estimated number of disabled children and their families is about 15-20 individuals. </li> <li>Icelandic authorities will receive sick and injured individuals and their close relatives. Requests to receive individuals who require medical care come from a European database. Representatives of the Ministry of Health and the Department of Civil Protection and Emergency Management will monitor requests and evaluate the health care system’s capacity to meet them.</li> </ul> <p>More than 820 individuals from Ukraine have already applied for protection in Iceland. This number is expected to rise in the coming weeks and months. Between 120 and 140 people are expected to come to Iceland with the Government’s decision to specifically welcome vulnerable groups from Ukraine. </p>

Mar 07, 2022The Minister of Justice permits temporary protection due to mass flight

<p>The Minister of Justice has decided, following local and international consultations, to immediately activate Article 44 of the Foreign Nationals Act No 80/2016, in light of the mass flight following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This decision is taken in keeping with the EU’s decision to initiate the same kind of action, as provided for in Directive 2001/55/EC on temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons. The reception of refugees in Iceland will cover the same defined groups as determined by the EU. This method is first and foremost intended to make it possible to aid those who flee from Ukraine swiftly and effectively, namely by granting them temporary protection, without the reception and aid overwhelming Iceland’s protection system.<br /> <br /> The UN Refugee Agency has issued notifications on the mass flight from Ukraine and has estimated that up to 4 million people will flee the conflict in the coming days and weeks. The Ministry of Justice has worked closely with the Schengen member states, including in preparation for the pending activation of Directive 2001/55/EC on temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons.<br /> <br /> Article 44 states that “A foreign national who is a member of a group which flees a specified region and arrives in Iceland, or is in Iceland when the provisions of the article are applied, may upon application for international protection be granted protection on the basis of a group assessment”, i.e. collective protection. This means that foreign nationals will be granted a residence permit on humanitarian grounds under Article 74 of the Foreign Nationals Act No 80/2016.<br /> <br /> Such a residence permit is issued for one year at a time, with the possibility to renew or extend it for up to three years from the time a permit was first issued. After that time, a permit may be issued under Article 74 that can become the basis for a permanent residence permit. One year after such a permit is issued, i.e. the fourth year from the issuance of the first permit, a permanent residence permit may be issued, provided that conditions for holding the permit still exist and other requirements are met.<br /> <br /> Access to services<br /> <br /> A residence permit granted to individuals on these grounds entails the same rights and access to services as a residence permit on humanitarian grounds, in keeping with Article 74 of the Foreign Nationals Act. It entails access to housing, maintenance, social services, health care services and access to the labour market. These rights are, for the most part, the same as those that individuals will receive in other European countries on the basis of Directive 2001/55/EC.<br /> <br /> Right to employment<br /> <br /> Under the current Foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act, No 97/2002, those who receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds only receive conditional access to the Icelandic labour market, which is based on the requirement that an employer must apply for a work permit for the person in question. Ukrainian refugees will therefore have access to the Icelandic labour market. A Bill of Amendment to the Foreign Nationals Act, which is now being prepared by the Ministry of Justice, proposes to amend these provisions of the Foreign Nationals’ Right to Work Act so that all persons who receive a residence permit on humanitarian grounds will receive a work permit along with the residence permit, automatically and without intermediaries.<br /> <br /> <br /> </p>

Feb 27, 2022Further solidarity measures for Ukraine

<p>Iceland has decided to close its airspace to Russian air traffic and suspend visa facilitation for Russian officials, business people and other such parties.</p> <p>"Like our friends and allies, we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people. Iceland will fully participate in measures taken against the unlawful military actions of Russia against Ukraine,“ says Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland. She announced on Twitter this morning that the air space of Iceland will be closed to Russian air traffic.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Iceland has decided to close its airspace to Russian air traffic, in solidarity with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Ukraine?src=hash&%3bref_src=twsrc%5etfw">#Ukraine</a> 🇮🇸 🇺🇦</p> — Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir (@thordiskolbrun) <a href="https://twitter.com/thordiskolbrun/status/1497872003386253313?ref_src=twsrc%5etfw">February 27, 2022</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>The restriction entails that all aircraft owned, chartered or operated or otherwise controlled by citizens of the Russian Federation and all operators holding air operator certificate (AOC) issued by the Russian Federation are prohibited to enter, exit or overfly Icelandic Airspace. The Icelandic airspace is approximately 180,000 square kilometres.</p> <img alt="" src="/library/01-Ministries/Ministry-for-Foreign-Affairs/Myndir/airspace.JPG?amp%3bproc=LargeImage" />&nbsp; <h6><em>Picture: The airspace of Iceland</em></h6> <p>The Government of Iceland has also decided to suspend visa facilitation for Russian officials, business people, parliamentarians, diplomats and others such parties A bilateral visa facilitation agreement from 2008 between Iceland and Russia allowed for the simplified procedure. The decision to suspend the agreement is in line with EU‘s decision on 25 February to partially suspend its visa facilitation agreement with Russia.&nbsp; The Ministry for Foreign Affairs notified the decision to the Russian Ambassador who was called to the Ministry.&nbsp;</p> <p>These measures are in addition to sanctions by European states that Iceland has already decided to participate in as well as those that are expected to be announced by the EU today.</p>

Feb 24, 2022Iceland strongly condemns Russia’s attacks on Ukraine

<p>The Government of Iceland strongly condemns Russia’s attacks on Ukraine and expresses deep concern for the destruction and suffering that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will inevitably cause.</p> <p>"Our thoughts are with the innocent people in Ukraine who suffer this unprovoked invasion by Russia. Iceland strongly condemns Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine. We call on Russia to cease its military action, which can have devastating consequences. Russia’s attack is a serious violation of international law, which demands a strong response by the international community," says Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister.</p> <p>"Russia's attack on Ukraine is a serious threat to European security. We stand in full solidarity with our allies and closest partners and we will take full part in international sanctions, that are to be issued immediately. Iceland reiterates its unwavering support to Ukraine and condemns this attack on Ukraine and its territorial integrity. We call on Russia to withdraw its military forces immediately from Ukraine,“ says Thórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörd Gylfadóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs.</p> <p>NATO has taken necessary measures by increasing and strengthening its response and defence capabilities. The North Atlantic Council met this morning to consult on the basis of Article 4 of the North Atlantic Treaty. Under this article, any Ally can request consultations when their territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened. The strengthening of NATO‘s collective defence posture could result in increased activity and visibility of Allied forces on Allied territory.</p> <p>Iceland will continue its support for Ukraine, by taking full part in international sanctions. Iceland will respond to humanitarian needs by providing EUR 1 million for humanitarian support in Ukraine. This is in addition to a EUR 200,000 contribution to NATO’s Trust Fund for Ukraine Professional Development Programme.</p> <p>Yesterday and today the Ministry for Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian Ambassador to reiterate Iceland’s position.</p> <p>The Ministry’s consular services have been in contact with 28 individuals in Ukraine, including 16 Icelandic citizens, and will continue to work closely with the consular services of the other Nordic countries.</p>

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