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Iceland and Norway sign MoU on security policy cooperation

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Icelandic Foreign Minister Valgerður Sverrisdóttir signed a Memorandum of Understanding on closer security policy cooperation between Iceland and Norway on Thursday.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Icelandic Foreign Minister Valgerður Sverrisdóttir signed a Memorandum of Understanding on closer security policy cooperation between Iceland and Norway on Thursday.

The two countries decided to extend their cooperation in this field when the US discontinued its direct military engagement in Iceland in September 2006. At that time Norway, along with other Allies, received a request from the Icelandic Government concerning closer bilateral security policy cooperation. We responded positively to the request.  

“This means closer cooperation with Iceland in peacetime, and will be of great importance and mutual benefit to two Nordic neighbours and NATO Allies,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. “Norway and Iceland have a common interest in greater stability and predictability in the north, and the agreement should be viewed as part of the Government’s High North strategy.” 

The MOU does not entail any form of Norwegian security guarantee. Iceland’s security needs will still be covered by its bilateral defence agreement with the US and NATO’s security guarantee. 

The main focus of the MOU is on security and defence policy cooperation, but it also covers cooperation on civil emergency preparedness, maritime traffic surveillance and search and rescue services.

The MOU also covers security policy consultations, more regular contact between police and security authorities, and assistance in the education and training of Icelandic personnel in the field of air surveillance and control. “This cooperation will strengthen the close relations between Norway and Iceland. We have a common interest in a  credible exercise of sovereignty and control in our northern waters, which will become increasingly important in future,” said Foreign Minister Støre.