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Iceland Supports Syria Air Strikes by NATO Members

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Iceland Supports Syria Air Strikes by NATO Members

Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson

Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson. Photo: Golli.

Iceland approved a NATO declaration expressing full support for the air strikes in Syria carried out by the US, UK, and France on Saturday. Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir and Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson have sidestepped questions about whether they support the air strikes personally.

The US, UK, and France carried out the operation against Syria on Saturday, launching more than 100 missiles at alleged Syrian chemical weapons facilities. Áslaug Arna Sigurbjörnsdóttir, chairperson of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee, says it is natural for Iceland to stand with NATO. The US, UK, and France “are sending a certain message that the use [of chemical weapons] has some consequences,” she stated.

Borgar Þór Einarsson, political advisor to the foreign minister, discussed Iceland’s stance on television show Silfrið last weekend. “We approved the statement,” Borgar said. “NATO has never released any kind of document without unanimous approval. Never. These are 29 countries.” Had Iceland wished to apply a veto to the vote, he added, the country would have had to resign from NATO first. “Everyone who discusses security issues in Iceland needs to realize that there are two options, that is to resign from NATO or be in NATO and follow the rules of the game.”

Minister for Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór tweeted the following about the strikes: “Use of #chemicalweapons should never be tolerated. Restrained and targeted attack by US, UK & France understandable in light of #UNSC inaction.”

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir said in regards to Iceland’s stance “We have not expressed special support for these actions, the government that is, but we have said that they were understandable.”

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs is meeting this evening to discuss the situation.

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