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Viewing cable 06REYKJAVIK118, ICELAND: 3/30-3/31 TALKS SET STAGE FOR NEW

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06REYKJAVIK118 2006-03-31 18:06 2011-01-13 05:05 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXYZ0000
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0118/01 0901822
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 311822Z MAR 06
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2676
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0198
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000118 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
OSLO FOR DATT AND ODC 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/30/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS IC
SUBJECT: ICELAND: 3/30-3/31 TALKS SET STAGE FOR NEW 
DEFENSE RELATIONSHIP 
 
REF: REYKJAVIK 107 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CAROL VAN VOORST, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D) 
 
1. (C) Summary:  A U.S. interagency delegation met in 
Reykjavik 3/30-31 with senior Icelandic officials to describe 
the operational framework for the defense of Iceland 
following the upcoming realignment of Naval Air Station 
Keflavik (NASKEF).  The Icelandic delegation expressed keen 
interest in U.S. proposals for enhanced security cooperation 
and pressed for additional details in the interest of 
generating a defense plan that could shortly be explained to 
the Icelandic people.  The U.S. promised a EUCOM briefing in 
April on a new plan for the defense of Iceland, and assured 
the Icelanders that the departure of fighter jets would not 
create a gap in coverage.  Although the Icelanders reiterated 
their disappointment at the U.S. pullout, the tone  was 
essentially cordial and cooperative, with no indication that 
the Icelanders  would seriously consider abrogation of the 
1951 Defense Agreement. That said, the Icelandic trust that 
the U.S. team sought to shore up is fragile, and maintaining 
a collaborative atmosphere will depend on our ability to come 
through with a reassuring and detailed EUCOM plan.   As the 
Icelanders pointed out, we have yet to delve into the murky 
depths of base closure issues - another challenge State and 
DOD must come to grips with shortly. End summary. 
 
-------------- 
U.S. proposals 
-------------- 
2. (C) The Ambassador led a team from the Departments of 
State and Defense that briefed senior Icelandic foreign 
affairs and public safety officials in meetings held in 
Reykjavik March 30-31, two weeks after the U.S. announcement 
that NASKEF would close at the end of the fiscal year. 
Assuring the Icelanders that the U.S. commitment to Icelandic 
defense under the 55-year-old bilateral Defense Agreement 
remained solid, the U.S. briefers discussed concrete ways in 
which the U.S. would counter 21st century threats minus a 
permanent on-island presence: 
 
--  Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense James 
Townsend provided the historical context for the shift in 
force posture as the U.S. in Iceland 
seeks to replace "a one-dimensional response to a threat that 
no longer exists." 
 
 -- Defense Intelligence Agency Senior Intelligence Officer 
James Danoy enumerated mechanisms available for bilateral 
intelligence sharing and offered to help Reykjavik "plug in" 
to the NATO intelligence structure. 
 
-- Brigadier General Richard Mills, EUCOM Deputy Director for 
Plans and Operations, described European Command's 
contemporary mission and 
capabilities, laying out the ability of an expeditionary 
EUCOM to respond rapidly and decisively to threats to 
Iceland. 
 
-- Brigadier General Thomas Coon, Mobilizations Assistant to 
the Director, Operational Plans and Joint Matters, HQ USAF, 
discussed how the Air 
Force can support EUCOM and NATO in providing warfighting 
capabilities for Iceland appropriate to the changing 
strategic environment. 
 
-- Responding to Iceland,s request for information, Lt. 
Colonel Troy Edgell, Country Program Director, Defense 
Security Cooperation Agency, explained search and rescue 
(SAR) procurement options via direct commercial sale and 
Foreign Military Sale as well as estimated Icelandic 
requirements and costs. 
 
-- State Department Iceland Desk Officer John Maher reviewed 
the recent history and potential growth of U.S.-Iceland 
non-defense security 
cooperation. 
 
3. (C) At the conclusion of the 3/31 session, EUR DAS Mark 
Pekala presented a 32-point distillation of concrete offers 
of strengthened cooperation made by the briefers, including: 
 
-- strategic intelligence partnership (including through 
Icelandic access to NATO intel networks;  bilateral expert 
 
talks; joint intelligence assessments; intelligence officer 
training; and a formal bilateral intelligence exchange 
agreement); 
 
-- exercises, ship visits, short-term deployments, and combat 
air patrols from bases outside Iceland; 
 
-- Icelandic orientation visits to U.S. and NATO defense 
headquarters and installations; 
 
-- Icelandic participation in the Foreign Military Sales 
program to enable cost-effective procurement of SAR assets; 
 
-- non-military security training, e.g. on contraband 
enforcement, Internet forensic investigations, transnational 
money laundering, natural disaster 
response, and emerging and pandemic disease response; 
 
-- enhanced Coast Guard exchanges and training, and 
partnering the U.S. Coast Guard's New England region with 
Iceland.  (Note:  This point amplified a presentation by U.S. 
Coast Guard Commandant ADM Thomas Collins, who had met with 
Iceland Coast Guard Director Georg Larusson and Ministry of 
Justice Deputy Permanent Secretary Stefan Eiriksson at 
Keflavik March 28.  End note.) 
 
------------------ 
Icelandic concerns 
------------------ 
4. (C) The Icelandic side was noncommittal on specific U.S. 
suggestions and made none of its own.  It did affirm its 
willingness to review an umbrella defense plan for Iceland 
that European Command expects to have ready by the end of 
April.  Ambassador Albert Jonsson, Advisor to Iceland's 
Minister for Foreign Affairs and chair of the Icelandic 
delegation, urged the U.S. side to provide substantive and 
readily understandable proposals that the GOI could put 
forward to the Icelandic public as evidence that Washington 
continues to guarantee Iceland's security.  He also requested 
that the U.S. provide, in the course of upcoming follow-up 
meetings: 
 
-- a clear picture of the size and shape of the U.S. military 
footprint that will remain on the Agreed Area at the end of 
September (adding that some U.S. presence would be important 
both practically and politically); 
 
-- a timetable for bilateral discussions between now and the 
base closure; 
 
-- information on how the U.S. intends to maintain and 
monitor its military infrastructure on the Agreed Area after 
September 30; 
 
-- information on how the U.S. intends to carry out its 
responsibilities as host nation for the NATO infrastructure 
on the base; 
 
-- an answer as to whether the Navy special communications 
facility at Grindavik will remain.  (The U.S. side responded 
that the tentative plan is to 
convert to a contractor-run facility.) 
 
5. (C) Icelandic MFA Defense Department Director Jon Egill 
Egilsson asked the U.S. to establish a mechanism for 
resolving base transition issues, including the timing of the 
handover of facilities on the Agreed Area.  The U.S. 
delegation promised responses to these Icelandic concerns at 
the next round of consultations. 
 
6. (C) Comment:  Over the course of two days of discussion, 
Jonsson went from complaints of Iceland,s abandonment by the 
U.S. to a more constructive acknowledgement that the U.S. 
takes its responsibilities for Iceland,s defense seriously 
and is deliberately working through the issues of responding 
decisively and quickly to potential threats.  This counts as 
a significant step forward insofar as it clears the air for 
discussion of specific ways in which the U.S. and Iceland can 
work together as modern strategic partners.  That said, the 
Icelandic trust has been bruised, and maintaining a 
collaborative atmosphere will depend on our ability to come 
through with a reassuring and detailed EUCOM plan.  We will 
also have to keep the pressure on the Icelanders to become 
active partners in the areas of cooperation that the team 
 
outlined for them.  Moreover, as Jonsson,s questions 
underscore, we have yet to delve into the murky depths of 
base closure issues - another challenge State and DOD must 
come to grips with shortly.  End comment. 
 
van Voorst