The heads of the Reykjavík police and the Icelandic Coast Guard met with the Judicial Affairs and Education Committee of the Icelandic Parliament yesterday to answer questions about the import of roughly 300 Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine guns from Norway.
Director of the Icelandic Coast Guard, Georg Lárusson, said that if the guns were found not to be a gift from the Norwegians, they would be returned, visir.is reports.
The police in Iceland have been under fire lately after it was reported that submachine guns were acquired from the Norwegian military and news that the guns will be kept in police cars—general officers in Iceland have until now been unarmed. Part of the guns were intended for the Icelandic Coast Guard.
Spokesperson for the Norwegian army Bent-Ivan Myhre stressed in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet last week that they will send a bill for the guns totaling NOK 625,000 (ISK 11.5 million, USD 94,000, EUR 75,000).
According to visir.is, the guns have not been cleared by customs and are sealed and in the storage of the Icelandic Coast Guard at Keflavík International Airport.
Georg explained that when doubt arose as to whether the guns were a gift or whether Iceland would be expected to pay for them, the decision was taken to seal the weapons. Since there is no urgent need for the weapons in the near future, Georg said that they won’t be going anywhere until the matter is resolved.
Georg stressed that the Icelandic Coast Guard has had good cooperation with Norway in recent decades and that the communication relating to the guns had indicated that they were a gift. In 2011, Norway sent Iceland 50 submachine guns without requesting payment.
When asked whether it wouldn’t be more dignified for Iceland to pay for its own weapons, Georg replied that it would but that the country was facing difficult economic circumstances.