Iceland rift over NATO membership sidelined in Arctic security talks,

NATO’s top official in Iceland on Tuesday downplayed worries about a potential rift with the small Arctic Council nation, whose leader has expressed interest in quitting the alliance.

“In democracies, there are different views and different positions on many things,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters. “What I know is there are different views in Iceland when it comes to NATO.”

Stoltenberg, who arrived for talks on security in the High North, was speaking alongside Iceland Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, a socialist who has said her country should withdrawal from NATO. For the U.S.-led alliance, Iceland is a key strategic ally even though it doesn’t have a military of its own. Allies routinely conduct maritime surveillance from an Icelandic base, where NATO tracks Russian military movements in the north Atlantic and Arctic.[…]

My personal position is that we should leave NATO, so I am critical towards any increased militarization of the North Atlantic, but our government will stick to the security policy that we have agreed upon and a part of that policy is our membership of NATO,” Jakobsdottir said in November, as quoted by Arctic Today. On Tuesday, she did not address the issue of NATO membership, but said security in the Arctic is in everyone’s interest. “Firstly, we talked about the Arctic, and I think we share concerns,” Jakobsdottir said. “The Arctic should stay a low-tension zone.” Läs artikel