Press point

by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland

  • 02 Mar. 2022 -
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  • Last updated: 02 Mar. 2022 21:17

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir

Prime Minister Jakobsdóttir, 
Dear Katrín,

It is great to have you here at NATO. 

Iceland is really a staunch supporter of our Alliance. 

And you are a founding member.
And you play an important role for our Alliance in many different ways. 

Your strategic location, your very strong commitment to our core values.
But also by actually helping to bind the North America and Europe together. 

All that is important for us. 

And it is especially important now when we have the most critical moment for European security in decades.
That you make sure that Europe and North America stand together.

And we are grateful for the contributions you are making towards our shared security. 

Both when it comes to providing support to Ukraine but also implementing sanctions and also closing the Icelandic airspace. 

So, I look forward to our meeting.

I really highly value all the contributions you're making to the transatlantic alliance and NATO. 

So, welcome. 

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu: We have some questions.

Ólöf Ragnarsdóttir (National Broadcasting Service of Iceland): Secretary General, thank you so much for having us here. Why do you think Iceland is important for NATO?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: Iceland is important for NATO for many reasons. The strategic location in the Atlantic is important because it actually is a vital bridge between North America and Europe. It helps us with maritime patrol activities in the North Atlantic, extremely important for the whole Alliance.

We have NATO planes keeping the skies over Iceland and North Atlantic safe, based in Iceland.
And then, we also, of course, appreciate very much what Iceland does when it comes to some very important issue for our Alliance. The human security, the link and the relationship between climate change and security.

And of course, also what Iceland is doing now in response to the horrendous, brutal invasion by Russia on independent, sovereign nation Ukraine.
And then, Iceland has played its part, implementing sanctions, closing the airspace, and also providing support to Ukraine: humanitarian support, financial support, supplies. All of that is of great importance.

And then, I also clearly state that the very strong political message from Iceland is, is demonstrating unity of the whole Alliance in condemning the invasion and the brutal attack on Ukraine.

Ólöf Ragnarsdóttir (National Broadcasting Service of Iceland) I think it's safe to say that NATO is more united than ever. What do you think it says about the Alliance that we need then invasion for another country to, you, makes the Alliance show united?

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg: NATO is an Alliance of 30 different nations from both sides of the Atlantic, with different history, different geography. And of course, there are sometimes differences. But that's also a strength. Because despite differences, we are always able to unite on our core tasks, to protect each other, to defend each other. And to stand together when we see a brutal violation of international law, as we now see in Ukraine.

And what we have done over the last weeks and months is to significantly increase our presence in the eastern part of the Alliance: in the Baltic countries, in Romania, in Poland.

We have increased the readiness of the NATO Response Force. We have activated the NATO defence plans so we can more easily move troops throughout Europe. And also further reinforce our presence in the East. 

And then, NATO Allies are also providing significant support to Ukraine.

We are not part of the conflict. We will not be part of the conflict. NATO will not be on the ground, with forces, soldiers in Ukraine, and will not be in the airspace over Ukraine. But we support the Ukrainian government. And we support them with military. But also Allies also provide humanitarian support and financial support.

Ólöf Ragnarsdóttir (National Broadcasting Service of Iceland): Thank you so much. Prime Minister, are you hoping that you will discuss with the Secretary General to take further action against Russia?

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir of Iceland: I think we are going to evaluate really the change that this might have on the future of NATO. The strategic plans of NATO. Because obviously this invasion has really changed the security situation in Europe in a very drastic way. So I think we are going to talk really about the effects of these events in Ukraine on the Alliance.