Transatlantic cooperation in focus as Secretary General visits Iceland
NATO’s unique role as a forum for transatlantic cooperation was a key theme of talks as Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen visited Iceland on Wednesday (13 August). “The transatlantic relationship is at the heart of NATO. The cooperation between North America and Europe which makes our citizens safer, and our countries stronger. And Iceland embodies that transatlantic relationship,” he said.
The Secretary General discussed preparations for the forthcoming NATO Summit in Wales (4-5 September) with Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson and Foreign Minister Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson.
At the summit, “we must make NATO’s collective defence, our relationship with partner countries and the ties of friendship across the Atlantic even stronger,” the Secretary General said.
Iceland contributes to NATO’s operation in Afghanistan, and to the measures the Alliance has taken to reinforce Allies in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine crisis. Iceland also hosted an air training event, the Iceland Air Meet 2014, with partners Finland and Sweden, in February this year, reinforcing cooperation between NATO and partner countries.
The Secretary General underlined the need for every Ally to continue to play a full role in adapting NATO to current and future challenges.
“I will look to Iceland, as to every Ally, to play a full role in our response to the challenges we face. For example, by building on the success of the Iceland Air Meet, by expanding it to cover Search and Rescue. And by exploring ways to contribute to shared NATO projects to enhance our capabilities,” he 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.”