Hoppa yfir valmynd


Apr 29, 2024Long-term policy on Iceland's support for Ukraine approved in Alþingi

<p><span>The proposed parliamentary resolution on Iceland's long-term support for Ukraine 2024-2028 put forward by the Minister of Foreign Affairs was approved by Alþingi today with overwhelming support.</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">Foreign Minister Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir welcomes Alþingi's approval. "I am especially grateful for the great cross-political consensus that has prevailed in parliament on this extremely important issue. Strong support for Ukraine is the most important security issue facing Iceland and Europe. The international legal system, on which our security and standard of living are based, is threatened by Russia's brutal invasion of Ukraine. We must therefore contribute to the defense of Ukraine in a decisive and concrete way," says the Foreign Minister. "With the proposal and the corresponding commitment in the budget plan, a strong foundation is laid for our targeted support to Ukraine."</span></p> <p><span>Minister Gylfadottir submitted a proposal for the preparation of a policy of long-term support for Ukraine at a cabinet meeting on October 10th of last year.&nbsp;The proposal was then submitted to Alþingi on March 12 by Bjarni Benediktsson, then Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Prime Minister, and aims to support the independence, sovereignty, borders, the safety of civilians, humanitarian aid and reconstruction work in Ukraine.</span></p> <p><span>In the Foreign Affairs Committee joint opinion the proposed resolution was welcomed and encouraged its approval. It further emphasized "...that in the areas covered by the policy, Iceland's support for Ukraine should be comparable in scope to that of other Nordic countries. The committee emphasizes that strong support to Ukraine's independence, self-determination and security, in combination with Ukrainian led peace efforts, directly impacts and safeguards the security interests of Iceland and the international legal system on which Iceland's sovereignty is based.”</span></p>

Apr 05, 2024UN Human Rights Council adopts resolution on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

<p><span>The UN Human Rights Council has adopted a resolution that addresses the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran put forward by a core group led by Iceland. The resolution renews the mandate of the Special Rapporteur to monitor and report regularly on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In addition, it extends for one year the mandate of the independent international fact-finding mission (<a href="https://view.officeapps.live.com/op/view.aspx?src=https%3a%2f%2fwww.ohchr.org%2fsites%2fdefault%2ffiles%2fdocuments%2fhrbodies%2fhrcouncil%2fsessions-regular%2fsession55%2fa-hrc-55-67-en.docx&%3bwdOrigin=BROWSELINK">FFM</a>) which collects, analyses and preserves evidence on serious human rights violations following the death in custody of Jina Mahsa Amini and the subsequent nationwide protests in the autumn of 2022.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Since 2021, Iceland has led an annual resolution on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Following the 2022 protest, in which women and girls played a key role, Iceland and Germany called for a Special Session in the Council and put forward a resolution which led to the establishment of the aforementioned FFM.</span></p> <p><span>The 55th session of the Human Rights Council commenced with a high-level segment, in which H.E. Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, <a href="https://www.stjornarradid.is/efst-a-baugi/frettir/stok-frett/2024/02/28/Utanrikisradherra-avarpadi-mannrettindarad-Sameinudu-thjodanna/">addressed</a>&nbsp;the Council. In the session, which is the longest in the history of the Council since its establishment in 2006, thirty-two resolutions and two decisions were adopted. Key mandates adopted this session, in addition to Iceland’s initiative, included the renewal of the Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine stemming from Russia’s aggression, mandate renewal of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus and the establishment of a group of three independent experts, and the renewal of three mandates concerning the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Furthermore, the Council adopted a resolution that seeks to protect the rights of intersex persons.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Iceland is running for a seat in the Human Rights Council for the period 2025-2027. As an observer state, Iceland continues to actively engage in the Council. In addition to leading the resolution on the situation on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iceland was party to over thirty <a href="https://www.government.is/diplomatic-missions/permanent-mission-of-iceland-in-geneva/statements/statement/2024/04/05/National-and-Nordic-Baltic-Statements-during-the-55th-session-of-the-Human-Rights-Council/">statements</a>, either in national capacity or together with the Nordic Baltic countries.</span></p>

Mar 26, 2024Increased support for the defence of Ukraine

<p><span>Iceland will support the Czech initiative to provide ammunition for Ukraine and fund equipment for women in the Ukrainian military. Ukraine is facing severe shortage of artillery shells, and the Czech-led initiative will help finance the delivery of ammunition to Ukraine, a vital part for Ukraine’s defence. Approximately two million euros are expected to be spent on the project by Iceland.</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"It is crucial to continue supporting Ukraine vigorously, not only to defend the people of Ukraine but also to uphold international laws in a broader context and our own security interests. Iceland’s long-term policy on support for Ukraine, currently under parliamentary discussion, will solidify this support in the long term, while simultaneously allowing us to move swiftly and support initiatives of this nature," says Minister for Foreign Affairs, Bjarni Benediktsson.</span></p> <p><span>Furthermore, Iceland will support the procurement of equipment for women in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. The proportion of women in the armed forces has increased significantly in recent years, especially since the full-scale Russian invasion started. To meet the needs of female soldiers Iceland will provide 75 million ISK to procure uniforms, bulletproof vests, medical, and hygiene supplies.<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Mar 21, 2024The Foreign Minister proposes to Althingi a resolution on long-term support to Ukraine

<p><span>Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson has introduced a draft parliamentary resolution on Iceland’s long-term support for Ukraine. The aim is to signal Iceland's unwavering commitment and solidarity with Ukraine, and to allow for long-term planning and greater efficiency in these efforts.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span>Speaking on the urgent need for support for Ukraine’s defences, Mr. Benediktsson said that Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine is the most serious security threat facing Europe since the end of the Second World War and a clear challenge to the international system. </p> <p>With the policy, Iceland aims to support an independent and sovereign Ukraine and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations. It is based on five main elements: strong bilateral cooperation; active participation in international cooperation in support of international law and accountability; support for Ukraine’s defences; humanitarian aid; and support for Ukraine’s economy, maintenance of basic services and reconstruction, during and following the conflict. </p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"Never before have we supported the defence of another country in such a direct way, and what's more, this has enjoyed general support in parliament and among our people. It is evident that without defence there would be no need to provide funds for the reconstruction and maintenance of Ukrainian society. If the invasion succeeds, Ukraine will seize to exist," Minister Benediktsson stated in his parliamentary address.</span> </p> <p>Since Russia’s illegal invasion, Iceland's defence, humanitarian, and economic support to Ukraine has amounted to appr. 5.7 billion ISK. </p> <p>The proposal can be accessed on the <a href="https://www.althingi.is/altext/154/s/1223.html">website</a>&nbsp;of Alþingi (Icelandic only).&nbsp;</p>

Mar 15, 2024Iceland supports the training of Ukrainian naval cadets

<p><span>Iceland has undertaken training of Ukrainian naval cadets who will receive training in practical seamanship including navigation, maritime surveillance, and operations, including search and rescue.</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"This training programme is a good example of what Iceland can contribute to support Ukraine based on our expertise and experience in seafaring in challenging conditions of the North Atlantic," says Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson.</span></p> <p><span>The training is a part of the NATO training programme for Ukraine, and the Icelandic Coast Guard is responsible for the training in collaboration with the Defence Directorate of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. The training will for the most part take place aboard Coast Guard vessels where smaller groups of cadets will receive several weeks of training.&nbsp;<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Feb 28, 2024Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs calls for collective action at the Human Rights Council

<p><span>Iceland’s Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson stressed the importance of collective action to address the regression of human rights as he delivered <a href="https://www.stjornarradid.is/raduneyti/utanrikisraduneytid/utanrikisradherra/stok-raeda-utanrikisradherra/2024/02/27/Avarp-radherra-i-mannrettindaradi-Sameinudu-thjodanna/">Iceland’s speech</a>&nbsp;at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva yesterday.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The Minister’s speech, which was delivered through a video statement, constitutes a part of the High-Level Segment of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council that commenced at the start of the week with opening speeches from prominent UN leaders, including the UN Secretary-General António Guterres.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>The universal protection of human rights and the importance of promoting unity around democracy and freedom were among the key areas of the Minister’s address.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>In his speech, the Minister highlighted the serious threats facing the international community due to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine as well as the horrific conflict in the Middle East.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">The Minister also expressed grave concern about rising polarization and the rapid decline of the human rights situation in numerous regions across the globe. " We must work together to reverse the serious backsliding of human rights we have witnessed lately, and secure the universal human rights of all people," said the Minister.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Furthermore, the Minister reiterated Iceland's priorities for its candidature for the Human Rights Council 2025 to 2027 as elections take place at the UN General Assembly in New York this fall.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"If elected, Iceland will actively contribute to the Council’s core mandate of advancing the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people and addressing human rights violations and abuses," said the Minister, who emphasized other priority areas of Iceland’s candidacy to the Council - the rights of women and girls, LGBTI persons, children and youth, and the environment.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p> <p>Anna Jóhannsdóttir, Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, participated on behalf of Iceland in the opening session of the Ministerial Segment of the Human Rights Council.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p><span>The Deputy Secretary General attended several other events during the Ministerial Segment, including a special event hosted by Ukraine commemorating that two years have passed since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and an event hosted by Palestine addressing the impact of the conflict in Gaza on the current human rights situation in the country.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p>

Feb 26, 2024Permanent Secretary of State, Mr. Martin Eyjólfsson, travelled to New Delhi for Nordic-Baltic participation in the Raisina Dialogue

<p><span>On 21-23 February, the Permanent Secretary of State, Mr. Martin Eyjólfsson, visited New Delhi in the company of Nordic-Baltic colleagues to attend the annual Raisina Dialogue. The trip was undertaken jointly within the framework of the Nordic Baltic cooperation (NB8).</span></p> <p><span>&nbsp;</span>India is a partner of growing importance to the Nordic-Baltic region. Links between the Nordic and Baltic countries and India are expanding in many areas, such as trade and investment, green transition and innovation.</p> <p>The Raisina Dialogue, hosted annually by India since 2016, has become a significant international platform for discussing geopolitical and geoeconomic challenges. The exchange between global partners on current security issues was an important aim of the trip. The NB8’s primary emphasis was on the need for global support for Ukraine and the international rules-based order.&nbsp;</p>

Feb 24, 2024Long-term support to Ukraine

<p><span>The Government of Iceland will put forward a five-year plan to Althingi to cement Iceland‘s long-term commitment of support to Ukraine in its fight against Russia‘s illegal invasion. Iceland will also continue to support Ukraine on its path to Euro-Atlantic integration.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, presented a draft parliamentary resolution to a cabinet meeting yesterday. The draft resolution entails a commitment to increase Iceland’s annual contribution to Ukraine’s defences and economic, humanitarian and reconstruction efforts. It also highlights Iceland’s intention to further strengthen bilateral ties and to continue advocating for just peace, in line with international law and President Zelenskyy’s Peace Formula.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"Today marks two years since the beginning of Russia's illegal and unprovoked full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This war of aggression is the most serious security threat facing Europe since the end of World War II. A long-term plan of support will mark a turning point demonstrating our serious commitment to support the struggle of the Ukrainian people for as long as necessary," says Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson.</span></p> <p><span>The draft parliamentary resolution will be presented to Althingi’s Foreign Affairs Committee in the coming days for consultation and finalisation. From the start of the full-scale invasion, there has been a clear consensus in Althingi, that Iceland must support Ukraine for as long as it takes.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"Ukrainians have been fighting for our fundamental values for two years now. Iceland's sovereignty is based on compliance and respect for international law by all, thus it is no hyperbole to state that our long-term support for the security and independence of Ukraine is also a long-term support for the security and independence of Iceland," says Bjarni.</span></p> <p><span>Following consultations with Althingi’s Foreign Affairs Committee, the resolution is expected to be passed in parliament within weeks. According to the draft resolution, contributions for the year 2024 will be substantially increased from the previous year, forming a minimum baseline for annual contributions in the years 2025-2028.&nbsp;<br /> </span></p>

Feb 19, 2024Support for Ukraine on the top of the agenda at the Munich Security Conference

<p><span>Growing concerns over the state of international affairs were central to discussions at the annual Munich Security Conference held in Germany. Broad consensus on the importance of supporting Ukraine's defence and safeguarding democratic values were the issues that topped the agenda. Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson participated in the conference and had multiple bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the conference.</span></p> <p><span>At the opening of the conference, the Foreign Minister participated in roundtable discussions where challenges to freedom in the world from extremism and authoritarian states were addressed. The keynote speakers were Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, and Markus Söder, Prime Minister of Bavaria.</span></p> <p><span>The Foreign Minister participated in roundtable discussions on energy security on Friday, where sustainable energy sources and the need to move away from fossil fuels were the main topics of discussion. There, the minister emphasized Iceland's strong position in this area and that the doors were open for other states to seek Iceland's advice in this field.</span></p> <p><span>On Saturday, the minister participated in roundtable discussions on security developments in the Arctic, as their importance in the international political context has greatly increased in recent years. Mr. Benediktsson also had numerous bilateral meetings at the conference, including with the foreign ministers of Palestine, Türkiye, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"All the discussions and conversations here underscore the deteriorating security outlook and increasing tension in international relations. Democratic states need to stand together and be ready to defend fundamental values and international law in word and deed," says Mr. Benediktsson.</span></p> <p><span>The Munich Security Conference was held for the sixtieth time this year with over 900 participants including about 50 national leaders and 100 ministers, along with academics and other reputable figures in the field of security and defence.</span></p> <p><span>Most sessions from the conference, including the speeches from heads of state and ministers, are accessible through streaming, which can be accessed on the conference website.</span></p>

Feb 15, 2024Iceland co-leads the Demining Coalition

<p><span>Iceland is among 20 countries that intend to support Ukraine in mine detection and clearance, with a declaration of intent signed in Brussels yesterday in connection with the NATO Defense Ministers' meeting.</span></p> <p><span>The group will oversee support for Ukraine related to mine detection and clearance, including funding projects, training, and purchasing equipment. Lithuania and Iceland co-lead the Demining coalition , and&nbsp; will participate in the management and advisory council of the group that will define the strategy for the upcoming projects.</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"It is a great honour for us Icelanders to participate in leading this immensely important project for Ukraine alongside Lithuania, which is our close ally. Our knowledge will save the lives of Ukrainians on the battlefield in their fight against Russia," says Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs. "This once again proves how small nations like ours can contribute to supporting Ukraine."</span></p> <p><span>In collaboration with the Nordic countries and Lithuania, Iceland has led training projects for Ukraine in mine detection and clearance since late 2022, the training is conducted in Lithuania. The special operations unit of the Icelandic Coast Guard, along with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, oversees the training project.</span></p>

Feb 15, 2024NATO Defence Ministers focus on deterrence and Ukraine in Brussels

<p><span>Strengthening defence and deterrence and closer cooperation with Ukraine were among the topics of discussion at the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) defence ministers' meeting in Brussels today. Foreign Minister Bjarni Benediktsson attended the meeting.</span></p> <p><span>Considering a drastically changed security environment following Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, the Ministers discussed the efforts that have been made to strengthen the defence preparedness and deterrence capability of the alliance, as well as the importance of adhering to commitments to further increase contributions to defence matters. The Ministers also discussed the implementation of new defence plans and decisions regarding force contributions and capabilities, stockpiling and transport to support the implementation of the defence plans. Additionally, increased cooperation and long-term plans for investments and collaboration with arms manufacturers were discussed to meet the growing need for weaponry and technology to ensure the supplies of alliance countries and ongoing assistance to Ukraine.</span></p> <p><span class="blockqoude">"The alliance has undergone rapid changes to meet new and serious security challenges, which are reflected in new defence plans, a more efficient command structure, improved surveillance, and strengthened defence and deterrence. There is a strong consensus on these priorities and all countries are working towards the same goal. In recent years, we have strengthened support for surveillance activities and operations in the North Atlantic, which are important for the security and defence of North America and Europe, but like other allies, we need to contribute more," says Mr. Benediktsson.</span></p> <p><span>The ministers also met in the NATO-Ukraine Council, where Rustem Umerov, Ukraine's Defense Minister, reported on the situation on the battlefield, in addition to discussing the support of the Alliance and allies to Ukraine. At the meeting, the implementation and funding of the Alliance's long-term support plan for Ukraine were also reviewed, and the Ministers agreed to establish a joint NATO and Ukraine analysis and training centre, which will be located in Poland.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</span></p>

Dec 23, 2023Iceland joins two coalitions supporting Ukraine

<p><span>Iceland will join two coalitions providing support to Ukraine, the IT coalition and the Demining coalition.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Iceland also announced additional funding of EUR 340,000 through the NATO Comprehensive Assistance Package to buy medical supplies for Ukraine.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>Since Russia’s illegal full-scale invasion into Ukraine nearly two years ago Iceland has provided humanitarian, economic and security related support to Ukraine, working primarily through international organizations, including the United Nations, the World Bank, NATO and other multilateral fora.&nbsp;</span></p> <p><span>“Hopefully this support will result in a strengthened defence posture and be a testimony of our continued unwavering support for Ukraine. We are pleased to further support our Ukrainian friends directly. By joining the IT and Demining Coalitions and providing additional funding to the Comprehensive Assistance Package for Ukraine we continue our non-lethal support to Ukraine as it fights Russia’s unjust and illegal invasion” says Bjarni Benediktsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs.</span></p> <p><span>"I am grateful to the Government and people of Iceland for their strong support. Thanks to our partners, we will be able to strengthen our capabilities in the areas of information technology, communication and cyber security, as well as have the necessary training and equipment for demining," said Rustem Umerov, Minister of Defense of Ukraine.</span></p> <p><span>Currently 8 countries have formally joined the IT Coalition: Estonia, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania. The UK and Italy have also announced their intention to join.<br /> </span></p> <div>&nbsp;</div>

Dec 13, 2023Joint Statement of the Nordic-Ukrainian Summit in Oslo

<p>At the second Nordic-Ukrainian Summit in Oslo 13 December, the Prime Minister of Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden and the President of Finland and Ukraine issued the following statement:</p> <p>We, the leaders of the Nordic countries, reaffirm our unwavering support for Ukraine. We convey our deep respect for and recognition of the persistence and spirit of the Ukrainian people, soldiers and leadership. After facing Russia’s aggression for almost ten years, including more than 650 days of full-scale war, Ukraine continues to demonstrate extraordinary determination in exercising its inherent right of self-defence.</p> <p>Recognizing that Ukraine’s resistance is also a fight for our common security and fundamental principles of international law, the Nordic countries have provided extensive military and civilian support and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. Since Russia’s illegal full-scale invasion in February 2022, the combined value of Nordic support amounts to approximately 11 billion euros. The Nordics will continue to provide extensive military, economic and humanitarian support to Ukraine, individually and collectively as Nordics, as well as in the framework of international formats and platforms. The Nordic countries will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.</p> <p>We condemn Russia’s illegal war of aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms. We stand firmly together with our allies and partners in response to Russia’s war. Russia must end its aggression and withdraw its forces immediately and unconditionally from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders.</p> <p>The Nordic countries remain committed to increasing the international pressure to counter Russia’s ability to continue its illegal war, including through sanctions. We will continue to cooperate with global partners to act against circumvention of the sanctions.</p> <p>Since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, the Nordic countries have made solid and robust military contributions to Ukraine, including air defence systems, artillery systems and munitions, Leopard main battle tanks, armoured combat vehicles, field medical support and mine clearance equipment. Furthermore, we have supported extensive training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Nordic countries will continue their military support to Ukraine within the US-led Defence Contact Group framework. The Nordics will actively explore areas of additional support, including, but not limited to Maritime Security, Air Defence and Air Force, including Combat Air Craft. We will pay particular attention to prospects for Nordic cooperation within defence sector capacity building as part of NATO´s CAP programme. The Nordic countries and Ukraine will also work on deepening defence industrial cooperation.</p> <p>The Nordic countries are ensuring long-term support for Ukraine. We stand united in bolstering Ukraine’s resilience and capacity to defend itself and remain ready to support Ukraine today, tomorrow and in the years to come.</p> <p>The Nordic countries reiterate their support of the Joint Declaration of the G7 Leaders of Support for Ukraine as of 12 July 2023 and agree to start bilateral negotiations with Ukraine on security commitments to be formalized in close coordination with G7 allies and partners.</p> <p>We are appalled by numerous reports, including from the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine, that have found evidence that Russian authorities have committed and continue to commit indiscriminate attacks against civilians and critical infrastructure, and the war crimes of torture, wilful killing, rape and other sexual violence, and deportation of children. We call on Russia to respect international law, including international humanitarian law, also on temporary occupied territory, and for the immediate release and return of all interned, forcibly displaced, and illegally deported civilians, including children, safely to Ukraine. The Nordic countries will contribute to countering propaganda, disinformation and destructive information influence of the Russian Federation.</p> <p>Accountability must be ensured. All those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law as well as violations and abuses of human rights must be held accountable. We welcome on-going international efforts to ensure accountability and reiterate their support for the investigations of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and encourages further efforts to hold the Russian leadership to account for the crime of aggression against Ukraine. In this regard, we also commend the work of the Register of Damage for Ukraine as a step towards an international compensation mechanism for victims of Russia’s aggression.</p> <p>The Nordic countries are strong supporters of President Zelenskyy’s initiative for a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace. The Ukraine Peace Formula, based on the respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, in line with the UN Charter, seeks to achieve this. The Nordic countries are actively engaged at all existing levels of cooperation with Ukraine, including coleadership, on implementation of the ten points of the Peace Formula, in close cooperation with countries from other regions of the world. The Nordic countries will continue to strengthen efforts to ensure as wide as possible crossregional engagement in the Peace Formula process, including participation in the inaugural Global Peace Summit.</p> <p>We find it impressive that, after years of defending itself against Russia’s aggression, Ukraine manages to maintain a focus on the global consequences of Russia’s war. Russia continues its cynical approach to global food security in one of the world’s major breadbaskets, including by attacking Ukrainian ports and threatening free trade in the Black Sea. This has consequences both in Ukraine and globally. Ukraine has made relentless efforts to address the challenges of global food insecurity, including through the «Grain from Ukraine» humanitarian initiative. This deserves our full and continued support. We welcome Ukraine’s persistent effort to provide a safe alternative maritime corridor through the Black Sea and thus substantially contribute to global food security. We will strongly support Ukraine’s efforts to restore its capabilities as a maritime power.</p> <p>The future of Ukraine and its people lies within the Euro-Atlantic family. As we emphasized in the Joint Statement of the Nordic-Ukrainian Summit in Helsinki, the Nordic countries will continue to support Ukraine on its path towards future NATO membership. Ukraine has the right to independently choose its own security arrangements. Already before membership, the security of Ukraine is of great importance to the Alliance as demonstrated by our intensified political and practical cooperation.</p> <p>The Nordics commend Ukraine for its clear commitment to reform even as the country is defending itself against Russia's aggression. Ukraine has been taking significant steps to combat corruption, decentralize, and create an open and transparent economy, which are essential steps towards a prosperous and reconstructed Ukraine. Significant parts of the Nordic civilian assistance have been channelled through trusted international partners such as the World Bank, EBRD and the UN Family. We commend the work of these organizations, including their focus on sustainability, transparency, good governance and anticorruption. The Nordic EU countries reiterate their support of opening accession negotiations with Ukraine and look forward to the European Council meeting on 14-15 December 2023, in this regard. Together with the EU and international partners, the Nordics will continue to coordinate and align our support to Ukraine’s ongoing reform efforts and support Ukraine on its European path. </p>

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

<p>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.</p> <p> <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. </span></p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p>

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

<p>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;</p> <p>“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;</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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;</p>

Oct 27, 2023The Icelandic people want to support Ukraine

<p>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.</p> <p>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;</p> <p>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;</p> <p>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.</p> <h2>Many are concerned about international affairs</h2> <p>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;</p> <p>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;</p> <h2>Positive views on Nordic cooperation</h2> <p>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;</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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></p>

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

<p>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;financed by Iceland and developed and produced in Estonia.</p> <p>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;</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>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. </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.</span></p> <p>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. </p>

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>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. </p> <p>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.</p>

May 31, 2023Training for Ukrainian soldiers in combat medicine

<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

<p>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>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>"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>The total cost of the trucks, their procurement and delivery is 400,000 euros.</p>

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

<p>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;</p> <p>“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.</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="/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="/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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <p>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.</p> <h2>Access to services</h2> <p> 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.</p> <h2>Right to employment</h2> <p> 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.</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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