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Viewing cable 06REYKJAVIK150, 4/26-27 DEFENSE TALKS: ICELAND LOOKS FOR

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
06REYKJAVIK150 2006-04-27 19:07 2011-01-13 05:05 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Reykjavik
VZCZCXYZ0001
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRK #0150/01 1171943
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 271943Z APR 06
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2724
INFO RUEHNY/AMEMBASSY OSLO IMMEDIATE 0241
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEHNO/USMISSION USNATO IMMEDIATE 0213
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
C O N F I D E N T I A L REYKJAVIK 000150 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
OSLO FOR DATT 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/26/2016 
TAGS: PREL MARR MASS NATO IC
SUBJECT: 4/26-27 DEFENSE TALKS:  ICELAND LOOKS FOR 
POLITICAL HELP 
 
REF: A. (A) REYKJAVIK 107 
     B. (B) REYKJAVIK 140 
 
Classified By: AMBASSADOR CAROL VAN VOORST, REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D). 
 
1. (C) Summary:  EUCOM briefed Iceland Chief Defense 
Negotiator Albert Jonsson 4/26 on the Draft Concept Plan (the 
Conplan) for the Defense of Iceland.   Jonsson responded 4/27 
that the Conplan was fundamentally acceptable as a plan but 
did not go far enough toward meeting Iceland's political 
needs.  He set out a list of references Reykjavik proposes to 
include in a U.S.-Icelandic agreement that could be used by 
the GOI to underpin their assurance to Icelanders that the 
U.S. commitment continues even without a base.  This 
agreement would include references that Jonsson believes are 
necessary to help the government make the case to the public 
that the U.S. commitment to defend Iceland remains credible. 
While the U.S. studies the Icelandic defense proposals, 
working-level talks will continue on transition issues in 
preparation for 9/06 closure of Naval Air Station Keflavik 
(NASKEF).  End summary. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Conplan 4287-06 and its Discontents 
----------------------------------- 
2. (C) In its briefing to the Icelanders April 26, the U.S. 
European Command team led by RADM Richard Gallagher stressed 
that the EUCOM plan is not fully developed, that we welcome 
Icelandic comment, and explained the approval system as the 
plan moves up to SecDef.  At several points in the discussion 
the U.S. side urged the Icelanders to take advantage of the 
intelligence sharing and other proposals that we offered in 
the March meeting (ref A). 
 
3. (C) Ambassador Albert Jonsson, the Icelandic delegation 
head, commented on the Conplan in a follow-up session April 
27.  He said that his side was disappointed with the plan as 
measured against Icelandic expectations of a U.S. commitment 
to a "robust" and "visible" replacement for the four F-15 
fighters.  While noting that the Conplan "has an internal 
logic and is consistent," Jonsson said the defense plan as it 
now stands is insufficient politically to reassure the 
Icelandic public, parliament, and ministers that Iceland is 
adequately defended. 
 
4. (C) He proposed that the defense plan be supplemented with 
a "conclusion" signed at the SecDef level and issued in 
conjunction with the completion of the plan.  The conclusion 
would contain references to: 
 
1) 1951 Defense Agreement. 
 
2) Conplan 4287-06. 
 
3) The resources and capabilities that stand behind the 
Conplan.  Wording would not need to be specific as to what 
units might be deployed to Iceland but should cite the range 
of capabilities that the U.S. has available and where they 
are sourced. 
 
4) How the U.S. would provide for Iceland's air defense. 
This would not need to specify what units might be deployed 
if the U.S. were to continue operation of the radar stations. 
 
5) What personnel and facilities would be maintained at 
Keflavik to assist forces redeploying to Iceland. 
 
6) Visible manifestations of the bilateral defense 
relationship, whether exercises or deployments or other ways 
of 'showing the flag.' 
 
7) The option for Iceland to call on U.S. forces to defend 
against terrorist threats and attacks.  In this regard 
Jonsson noted that the 1951 Defense Agreement is not specific 
in saying that it applies only to state threats (as the 
Conplan does); and cited NATO's Article 5 invocation after 
September 11 as evidence that military forces can properly 
respond to terrorist attacks. 
 
8) What is envisaged with respect to law 
enforcement/non-military security cooperation.  (Note: 
Ministry of Justice Deputy Permanent Secretary Stefan 
Eiriksson added that Reykjavik wishes to prioritize 
intelligence cooperation as described by the U.S. side in 
 
March and hopes to enhance cooperation between the U.S. and 
Icelandic Coast Guards.  He announced that the National 
Commissioner of Police and the Icelandic Coast Guard would 
contact the Embassy in early May to initiate collaboration in 
these areas as well as on training and non-proliferation 
activities.  End note.) 
 
5. (C) As to the Conplan itself, Jonsson asked for some 
specific changes and raised some questions: 
 
-- pp. 1 and 2:  Refer to "1951 Defense Agreement" or 
"bilateral 1951 Defense Agreement" rather than "Defense of 
Iceland." 
-- p. 9:  Delete "US mission will not include enforcing 
peacetime air sovereignty." 
-- p. 10:  To "GOI will continue to provide access to its 
territory," add "in accordance with the 1951 Defense 
Agreement." 
-- p. 10:  Why is "GOI will maintain Keflavik as an operating 
international airport" not a redundant assumption if the GOI 
is providing access to its territory?  (Jonsson said we could 
leave this assumption in if we believed it did in fact add 
something.) 
-- p. 21:  Could the U.S. and Iceland undertake to defend 
Iceland bilaterally without NATO having to invoke collective 
defense?  (Reassured that it could, Jonsson accepted the text 
as drafted.) 
 
--------- 
Follow-up 
--------- 
6. (C) Jonsson stated that the GOI would like to come to the 
next bilateral meeting with a draft text for this 
"conclusory" document.  He hoped this meeting could take 
place very soon; Ambassador van Voorst said the U.S. would 
take this Icelandic proposal under consideration.  In the 
meantime, both sides agreed, the governments should continue 
cooperation on the technical and practical aspects of 
disposing of NASKEF assets and ensuring smooth functioning of 
Keflavik International Airport after September 30, 2006. 
Jonsson reiterated five areas of Icelandic concern in this 
regard: 
 
1) U.S. military footprint:  What will remain after 9/30? 
 
2) What is the timetable for transition? 
 
3) In the event that few or no military forces remain, how 
will the U.S. maintain and monitor its installations in the 
Agreed Areas? 
 
4) How will the U.S. carry out its host nation duties for 
NATO? 
 
5) How does the U.S. wish to dispose of the special 
communications installation at Grindavik? 
 
The U.S. side assured the GOI that we are working on these 
issues and will answer the Icelandic questions as soon as 
possible. 
 
7. (C) Comment:  Jonsson and his government want our help in 
reassuring the Icelandic public as concretely and believably 
as possible that the U.S. commitment to defend Iceland 
remains intact despite the pullout of the planes.  Iceland's 
success in negotiating two agreed minutes with us during the 
1990's is probably at the bottom of this new proposal for 
greater definition in our military and security relationship. 
 We may at some later point choose to seriously consider this 
option -- but before reaching for this device, we should 
explore all options of helping the GOI get the political 
cover it needs without the cost of the time, effort, and 
legal complexities of a signed understanding.  End comment. 
van Voorst