President of Iceland Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson stated yesterday that he does not want to discuss the situation in Ukraine at a conference on the Arctic in Norway, arguing that it would be inappropriate to condemn Russia’s behavior at the meeting, ruv.is reports.
The issue of Crimea has come up in discussion at the Arctic Dialogue conference at the University of Nordland over the last few days. Norway’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Ingvild Næss Stub has harshly criticized Russia for its actions.
Ólafur Ragnar told Norwegian newspaper Nordlys that it was inappropriate to use the conference to condemn one of the large countries in the North. He warned that it would not take more than an hour to destroy cooperation in the Arctic and that there was a lot at stake. Ólafur Ragnar further stated that cooperation in the region over the last 20 years is the only type of cross-border cooperation in the region since the Cold War.
Foreign Minister of Iceland Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said in a post on Facebook yesterday that discussions about Ukraine have not affected cooperation between the Arctic nations but that the behavior of individual states has the potential to disrupt progress, ruv.is reports.