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Viewing cable 05REYKJAVIK520, ICELAND: 2005 COUNTRY REPORTS ON TERRORISM

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05REYKJAVIK520 2005-12-20 16:04 2011-01-13 05:05 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXYZ0004
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0520/01 3541612
ZNR UUUUU ZZH (CCY ADX723D5B MSI4387-623)
P 201612Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2473
INFO RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO 0164
RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO 0198
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0273
RUCOPKB/COMICEDEFOR KEFLAVIK IC
RUCOPLF/NAS KEFLAVIK IC//NCIS//
REUILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
UNCLAS REYKJAVIK 000520 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
STATE FOR S/CT:RHONDA SHORE AND ED SALAZAR 
OSLO FOR DATT 
COPENHAGEN FOR LEGAT 
 
C O R R E C T E D   C O P Y (PARAGRAPH 2 TEXT) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PTER ASEC IC
SUBJECT:  ICELAND:  2005 COUNTRY REPORTS ON TERRORISM 
 
REF:  STATE 193439 (NOTAL) 
1.  The following text updates for 2005 the Iceland 
country section of the 2004 Patterns of Global 
Terrorism report: 
Iceland has no military forces.  Nevertheless, its 
leaders have offered strong rhetoric in support of U.S. 
antiterrorism policies, and the Icelandic Crisis 
Response Unit (ICRU), a Ministry for Foreign Affairs- 
run organization of peacekeepers, has contributed to 
counterterrorism efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere. 
There are no indications of the existence of terrorist 
groups operating inside Iceland or of trafficking of 
weapons of mass destruction (WMD) through the country's 
territory.  The country's top Coast Guard official has 
worried publicly, however, that the surrounding North 
Atlantic Ocean receives insufficient surveillance by 
law enforcement. 
---------- 
Operations 
---------- 
During the year, two eight-person ICRU Mobile 
Observation Teams deployed to Afghanistan and were 
attached to PRTs in Meymana (deployed in September) and 
Chagcharan (deployed in mid-October), with rotations of 
personnel planned at three-month intervals.  In 
November, however, Foreign Minister Geir H. Haarde 
announced that due to safety concerns Icelandic 
civilian peacekeepers would cease to participate in the 
PRT in northern Afghanistan, although they would 
continue to work in the western region while the 
security situation remained stable there.  There are 
four ICRU members in Sri Lanka with the Norwegian-led 
Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).  Currently one 
Icelandic policeman is in Kosovo with the international 
police force there.  These peacekeeping deployments 
remain well short of the Icelandic Government's long- 
stated goal of 50 ICRU peacekeepers in the field "at 
any given time" in 2006.  Wages and costs have 
apparently far exceeded government projections, and 
remaining funding has not allowed additional 
deployments. 
-------- 
Dialogue 
-------- 
Several exchange visits in support of security and 
antiterrorism occurred between U.S. and Icelandic 
Government officials in 2005: 
-- In January the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)'s Rotterdam- 
based U.S. International Port Security Liaison Officer, 
with responsibility for Iceland, visited Reykjavik to 
tour port facilities and share strategies with maritime 
officials. She noted:  "All entities are keenly aware 
of each other's roles and their successful 
collaborative work is evident.Icelandic authorities are 
working to centralize their emergency response efforts, 
further improving communication as well as national 
security, e.g. three major ports in Reykjavik have come 
together to form an Association of Icelandic Ports and 
also the Icelandic Coast Guard/Maritime Traffic Center 
is being relocated with the Icelandic Police/Emergency 
Response Center where incidents can be managed with a 
more integrated approach." 
-- In March the USCG provided Icelandic Coast Guard 
(ICG) Director General Georg Larusson with a weeklong 
orientation to USCG personnel, materiel, and facilities 
on the eastern seaboard. 
-- In May Embassy personnel arranged and partially 
funded extensive U.S. travel and briefings for Jon 
Bjartmarz, Chief Superintendent, National Commissioner 
of Police Security Section, to familiarize him with 
U.S. law enforcement best practices. 
-- Also in May, Embassy personnel organized, escorted, 
and partially funded travel of senior foreign affairs 
journalists from Icelandic print and broadcast media to 
Brussels, Vienna, and Sarajevo to study Alliance 
transformation, post-conflict reconstruction, counter- 
trafficking, and the broad work of the OSCE in Eurasia. 
-- Iceland hosted USCG Commandant Admiral Thomas 
Collins on a goodwill and familiarization visit July 1- 
2.  In meetings with Larusson and Minister of Justice 
and Ecclesiastical Affairs Bjorn Bjarnason, Admiral 
Collins proposed training and acquisitions for the ICG 
as well as ways to enhance interoperability. 
 
Following these exchanges Minister Bjarnason announced 
in September that the Government would purchase a new 
patrol vessel and a new airplane to replace aging 
existing assets.  Two additional patrol vessels will be 
refitted.  Larusson has maintained political pressure 
on his government to increase its spending on maritime 
security.  Referring to the 1.8 million square 
kilometers of Icelandic territorial waters, he warned a 
civic group in November, "This is probably the only 
ocean area in the world that is so little monitored." 
He added that those sailing in the region were probably 
aware of its vulnerability and could plan "unsuitable 
acts."  He pledged to revise ICG regulations to make 
weapons available on board patrol vessels and for the 
first time to give police training to crews, who 
already enjoy police authority. 
-- In November, a team from S/CT briefed senior 
officials from the Icelandic MFA, Justice Ministry, 
Police and Coast Guard on State's Foreign Emergency 
Support Team and other interagency crisis response 
capabilities.  Later that month, the Icelandic Police 
special forces unit carried out a hostage rescue 
exercise inside the U.S. Embassy. The Icelanders 
undertook to continue to work through the Embassy to 
strengthen counterterrorism contingency planning. 
------------- 
Moral Support 
------------- 
Icelandic Prime Minister Halldor Asgrimsson condemned 
the July 7 terrorist attacks on the London transit 
system by saying they were great acts of cruelty 
against innocent citizens.  He also stated, "These were 
attacks not only on the British nation but also on our 
shared democratic and national values."  Minister of 
Justice Bjarnason, responding to questions about 
Icelandic anti-terror preparedness in the wake of the 
London bombings, outine a multi-pronged Icelandic 
approach, including: 
-- updating police organization to reduce the number of 
districts nationwide and achieve economies of scale; 
-- strengthening the Special Unit (an elite SWAT-type 
police organization) by increasing manpower; 
-- increasing monitoring of foreigners; 
-- maintaining Keflavik International Airport's 
preeminence in use of the most advanced security 
technology; and 
-- devising plans on how to respond to chemical, 
biological, or radiolical attack. 
Iceland is a party to all 12 international conventions 
and protocols relating to terrorism; and has signed the 
Nuclear Terrorism Convention.  In May Iceland signed 
both the Council of Europe Convention on the Prevention 
of Terrorism CETS No. 196 and the Council of Europe 
Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and 
Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the 
Financing of Terrorism CETS No. 198; both are slated 
for ratification by the Althing (parliament) in 2006. 
Speaking at the UN General Assembly in September, both 
Asgrimsson and then-Foreign Minister David Oddsson 
supported adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on 
International Terrorism.  "Such a convention must 
unconditionally condemn terrorism. For it to be fully 
effective, it must include a legal definition of 
terrorist acts," Oddsson declared. Asgrimsson 
reiterated, "(A) universal definition is still 
needed.   Terrorism is a threat to us all and must be 
condemned in all its forms." 
--------- 
Exercises 
--------- 
The Icelandic Coast Guard hosted its fourth annual 
explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) training exercise, 
Northern Challenge, from August 29 to September 2. 
This year's exercise was attended by teams from 
Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom and Sweden (the 
first Partnership for Peace team to attend) for a total 
of 47 EOD technicians.  The exercise objectives were: 
(1) to provide a realistic training exercise, where 
NATO/PfP EOD teams could hone their skills and 
procedures in dealing with a number of EOD/IEDD tasks, 
and (2) provide a platform for discussion and exchange 
of ideas regarding EOD and Innovative Explosive 
Ordnance Disposal (IEDD) operations.  Formally the 
exercise fulfilled the requirements of the 2000 
Implementing Agreement Pursuant to the Memorandum of 
Understanding between Iceland and the U.S. regarding 
ICD EOD and IDF cooperation, specifically in the areas 
of EOD training and exercise. 
In support of maritime security, the ICG has given 
increased attention to scenarios involving large 
passenger and cargo vessels.  In August, the ICG EOD 
unit conducted a bomb disposal exercise at Sundahofn 
port in Reykjavik on an American cruise liner, the 
Seven Seas Navigator.  The exercise was a cooperative 
effort between members of the ICG, the Maritime Control 
Authority and the ship's security officer.  On 
September 28, the fuel tanker USNS Gianella arrived at 
the Helguvik NATO fuel pier carrying 9.8 million 
gallons.  For maritime security, the Iceland Defense 
Force (IDF) requested ICG assistance in pier sweeps and 
harbor patrol.  The ICG EOD unit conducted pier sweeps 
from September 25 to 27.  The ICG cutter Baldur 
patrolled the harbor during the fuel transfer from 
September 28 to 29. 
------- 
Contact 
------- 
 
2.  Embassy point of contact for this report is 
Political Officer Lisa Kierans, tel. 011-354-562- 
9100x2294, fax 011-354-562-9139, e-mail 
kieransl@state.gov. 
 
KOSNETT