Backing down on Russia “bad for Iceland’s reputation”

Russia is a major market for Icelandic fisheries products.

Russia is a major market for Icelandic fisheries products. Photo: Albert Kemp

Walking away from common Western action on Russia would be a major deviation from national foreign policy and damage the country’s reputation as a sound ally, says the Icelandic Foreign Ministry.

The Icelandic government has come under pressure from the fishing sector to withdraw its support for the current EU-led embargo against Russia, citing the major financial losses caused by the Russians’ retaliatory ban on Icelandic food products.

Russia has long been an important market for Icelandic fish products.

Respect for international law

Any such withdrawal would, at best, lead friendly nations to question the Icelandic government’s strategy in international relations, concludes a new Foreign Ministry document analysing Icelandic interests in the context of the Russian embargo.

“Respect for international law has always been a cornerstone of Icelandic foreign policy and Iceland’s position in disputes on national borders and integrity has always been based on international law,” the report reads.

In Iceland’s interests

“As a small nation whose economy is based to a large extent on fishing, Iceland has every interest in ensuring international law and pacts are respected.”

The report also concludes that an Icelandic refusal to join in common Western action would have been unprecedented in the country’s modern history and would have broken “Western solidarity in an area which all agree is of fundamental significance to European security”.

The full Foreign Ministry text (in Icelandic) can be consulted here.

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