Presented his credentials to President Obama

Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson
Hjörtur J. Guðmundsson

Iceland's new ambassador to the United States presented his credentials to President Barack Obama at the White House today. He replaces Guðmundur Árni Stefánsson who will take on other duties within the foreign service.

"I'm looking forward to this. I'm quite well familiar with the United States and lived there as a student for many years, including two years in Washington. This is a very exciting assignment. It's vital to maintain a strong representation in the United States as they are our most important ally," Haarde said to last year after the Foreign Ministry had confirmed his appointment.

Haarde was Prime Minister of Iceland between 2006-2009, Foreign Minister 2005-2006 and Minister of Finance 1998-2005. He was vice-chairman of the conservative Independence Party between 1999-2005 and chairman of the party from 2005 until 2009 when he left politics.

Haarde was educated in the United States. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from Brandeis University in 1973, a master's degree in international relations from Johns Hopkins University in 1975 and a master's degree in economics from the University of Minnesota in 1977. In 2007 Haarde furthermore received an honourary doctorate degree in law from the University of Minnesota.

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