US military presence in Iceland “a step back into the past”

Air-space surveillance in Iceland.

Air-space surveillance in Iceland. Photo: Þórður

Iceland’s decision to sign a new defence deal with the United States supporting US “plans for the defense of Iceland by military means” is a step back into the past, says a prominent Icelandic politician.

Stein­unn Þóra Árna­dótt­ir is MP for the Left-Green Movement and the party’s representative in the Icelandic Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

She accuses the Foreign Affairs Minister, Lilja Dögg Alfreðsdóttir, of bouncing the Committee by waiting until their last working day before the summer recess to announce her intention to sign this new agreement.

Stein­unn Þóra Árna­dótt­ir MP.

Stein­unn Þóra Árna­dótt­ir MP. Photo: Ó​mar Óskars­son

“It is unacceptable for ministers to block open and informed debate on important issues in this manner,” says Árna­dótt­ir in a statement issued on behalf of her party.

“Issues of this nature may not be hidden away within the Foreign Affairs Committee, the members of which are bound by confidentiality.”

Describing the move as “a step back into the past”, Árna­dótt­ir concludes that the joint declaration signed yesterday can only be interpreted as a step towards operating a US military base in Iceland, as happened from 1951 to 2006.

The US Army left Iceland in 2006. Could they be ...

The US Army left Iceland in 2006. Could they be making a return? Photo: Þorvaldur Örn Kristmundsson

“Iceland’s security in the 21st century will not be ensured by means of military alliances, fighter jets, or other weapons of war,” the MP says.

“It is the Left-Green Movement’s clear policy that Iceland should be a non-military country and remain outside of military alliances. We should instead step up our participation in the United Nations […] and in fora such as the Nordic Council, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.”

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