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US and Iceland Sign Defense Agreement

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US and Iceland Sign Defense Agreement

Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir

Foreign Minister Lilja Alfreðsdóttir. Photo: Geir Ólafsson.

Yesterday, Iceland and the US signed a joint agreement regarding cooperation in the area of defense. The agreement was signed in Reykjavík and Washington, DC, by Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Lilja Alfreðsdóttir and US Deputy Secretary of Defense Roberto O. Worke. The agreement is an addendum to an agreement signed between the two countries in 2006.

The joint declaration states that the security environment in Europe and the North Atlantic region has changed since the US and Iceland signed a joint understanding in 2006, which remains valid, and continues to shape their bilateral defense relationship. The he purpose of the new agreement is to strengthen the basis for future cooperation.

There has been an increased US military presence in recent years in the North Atlantic, a press release from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs states. Once a year, the US has taken care of airspace policing from Keflavík air base for NATO. In the past two years , US submarine search planes have stayed in Iceland on a temporary basis.

Lilja states, „It’s mainly the temporary presence of the US army which has been developing in recent years and that has changed the level of our cooperation, which we want to formalize in this way, since transparency is very important in the cooperation of the two countries.”

The agreement includes continued support on the US behalf regarding NATO’s policing of Icelandic airspace, the temporary presence of submarine search planes, a close cooperation in the area of security and defense, the maintenance and running of defense facilities, exchange of information and practical cooperation, for example with regard to practice, search and rescue, and emergency assistance.

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