Later this month, lawmakers in Iceland will vote on a resolution calling for a referendum on the country’s NATO membership, reports New Europe.
Left Green Movement MP Ögmundur Jónasson will table the resolution. "My firm opinion is that NATO is a risky partnership for us for various reasons,” said Jónasson. “I believe that a small country like Iceland should stay out of military alliances. Iceland should be an advocate of peace and justice but not military interests of large powers which is what NATO first and foremost serves.”
According to Jónasson, Iceland would be better off donating the money it gives to NATO to the United Nations.
This will be the second time Iceland’s parliament has been called to vote on whether to hold a referendum. The Left Green Movement and the Social Democratic Alliance had unsuccessfully proposed a similar resolution last year.
During a recent trip to Iceland in August, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said: “In these unpredictable times, we need NATO more than ever. I count on Iceland’s support as we make the alliance even fitter, faster and more flexible”.
Increased Icelandic involvement in NATO has already been agreed, according a local report. In an official statement, Minister of Foreign Affairs Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson met with Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Philip Breedlove on the 10 September to discuss numerous ways in which Iceland will increase its participation with NATO. Many of these details were finalised during Wales Summit.
Amongst their conclusions, the Minister said that he believes it important that Breedlove visit Iceland regularly to assess the defence situation in the country. This entails, amongst other things, increased “guest appearances” of military forces from other NATO countries.
“I want to emphasise the position of the Icelandic government that NATO needs to have at its disposal the ability to keep track of changing trends in the Arctic region,” the Minister said in the statement. “Changes in the Arctic includes increasing movements that are not just about security but also pertain to environmental assessments and search and rescue.”
The Minister also said that Iceland will increase its “civic participation” in NATO, and that NATO will in turn help develop Iceland’s air defence system.