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World > Europe > Iceland > Foreign Relations (Notes)

Iceland - Foreign Relations (Notes)


FOREIGN RELATIONS
Iceland maintains diplomatic and commercial relations with practically all nations, but its ties with other Nordic states, with the U.S., and with the other NATO member states are particularly close. Icelanders remain especially proud of the role Iceland played in hosting the historic 1986 summit in Reykjavík between President Reagan and Soviet leader Gorbachev, which set the stage for the end of the Cold War.

Iceland has greatly increased its international profile since the early 1990s. Since the mid-1990s, Iceland has opened a number of missions overseas for a total of 22, including an embassy in Beijing, giving Iceland a diplomatic presence in all five permanent member countries of the UN Security Council. Not coincidentally, it has announced its candidacy to serve on the UN Security Council in 2009-2010. In the past few years, Iceland has also established missions to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg and to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Vienna. In 1998, it bolstered its delegation to NATO, assigning a permanent representative to the military committee for the first time ever.

Notwithstanding its status as an unarmed nation, Iceland has been eager to do its part to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security. One of the niches it is helping to fill is in civilian peacekeeping and crisis management. It took a significant step forward in this area in 2001 by launching its Icelandic Crisis Response Unit (ICRU). In setting up the ICRU, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs established a roster of over 100 experts in various occupations (police officers, nurses, doctors, lawyers, engineers, journalists, etc.) who will be specially trained and prepared to deploy to trouble spots abroad on short notice.

Peacekeeping has been a permanent item in the Icelandic state budget since 1994, and Iceland has been an active member of the UN Peacekeeping Committee since 1997. With the formal establishment of the ICRU, the government decided to increase the number of deployed peacekeepers to 50 by 2006. The key emerging niche capability of the ICRU is airport administration following the successful management of the airport in Pristina, Kosovo, in 2003 and of the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2004-2005.

Icelanders have a strong emotional bond with the Baltic states, and Iceland prides itself on being the first country to have recognized these countries' claim for independence in 1991.

Membership in International Organizations
Iceland is a member of the following organizations: Arctic Council, Barents Euro-Arctic Council; Council of Baltic Sea States; Council of Europe; European Economic Area; European Free Trade Organization; EFTA Court; EFTA Surveillance Authority; North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; International Criminal Police Organization; International Council for the Exploration of the Sea; International Hydrographic Organization; International Maritime Satellite Organization; International Union for the Publication of Custom Tariffs; Nordic Council; North-East Atlantic Fisheries Commission; North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization; the International Whaling Commission; and the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.

It also is a member of the United Nations and most of its related organizations, specialized agencies, and commissions, including the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, World Tourism Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Fund for Agricultural Development; Industrial Development Organization; International Labor Organization, International Maritime Organization, International Telecommunications Union, UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Universal Postal Union, World Health Organization, and World Meteorological Organization; World Intellectual Property Organization; International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; International Development Association; International Finance Corporation Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes; UN Conference on Disarmament; Economic Commission for Europe; UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Commission of Human Rights; UN Conference on Trade and Development.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions - Iceland Krona Exchange Rates
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Current Time
Ranking Positions
Iceland Krona Exchange Rates


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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