A new home for the US embassy in Iceland is set to be completed in Reykjavík next summer, RÚV reports. There is no word, however, on when the position of ambassador will be filled. The post has been unoccupied for 572 days, since the departure of Robert Barber.
“All work in the embassy is proceeding according to routine under the leadership of the deputy ambassador,” the embassy’s public affairs officer Oscar Avila stated. Avila added that there is no way of knowing when the next ambassador to the country will be appointed.
The projected cost of the new embassy building is ISK 6.7 billion ($62m/€55m). The building design includes bullet-proof glass in all windows and thick security walls around the property.
This is the third time Icelanders have had to wait for an ambassador for a long period. Nine years ago, Robert S. Connan was appointed to take over the position from Carol Van Voorst, but never took on the position. Eventually Luis Arrega was appointed to the post, arriving in Iceland one year and nine months after Voorst left.
Robert Barber’s appointment was a political one on the part of Former President Barack Obama. He therefore was forced to resign from the position when President Donald Trump took power. Upcoming midterm elections in the United States may further complicate the appointment of the country’s next ambassador to Iceland.
The US Embassy is one of 28 in Iceland which currently has no ambassador. Others in the group are Angola, Andorra, Venezuela, Guinea, Kosovo, and Macedonia.