Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee visited Iceland on 10-11 November 2019. During his visit, Air Chief Marshal Peach met with Iceland’s Chief of Defence, Minister Arnór Sigurjónsson, Minister of Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson and with the Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee. The Chairman also addressed the Icelandic Atlantic Treaty Association.
During his visit, Air Chief Marshal Peach met with Chief of Defence Sigurjónsson to discuss NATO’s relations with Iceland and the different aspects of cooperation. He reaffirmed the crucial position that Iceland holds within the Alliance. Iceland’s strategic position as the guardian of vital waterways connecting the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic region makes it a valuable and valued Ally. “Iceland is the bridge between Europe and North America and the Alliance’s stronghold in the Atlantic. You provide NATO with maritime and air surveillance in the North Atlantic”, commended the Chairman.
As a founding member, Iceland has helped secure the Alliance for 70 years through the contribution of training, advice and assistance to NATO’s missions and operations. Air Chief Marshal Peach added that “Iceland bolsters NATO’s missions and operations with personnel and civilian contributions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. You help our partners, Ukraine, Georgia and Jordan. We are grateful for your commitment, not only to our Alliance but to peace and security”.
In his meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson, the Chairman lauded Iceland’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, “it is a hard, demanding and ambitious commitment but on the other hand fundamental for the defence and safeguard of the Arctic region. This is great opportunity to encourage dialogue on the Arctic region between international and global actors as well as shine a light on ongoing challenges emerging as a result of climate change”.
Air Chief Marshal Peach concluded his trip with an address to the Atlantic Treaty Association. Addressing participants, the Chairman explained the challenges that NATO is facing and its response: “Our current security environment is the most unpredictable since the end of the Cold War. The challenges we face together as Allies are becoming increasingly complex and globalised. Today, we are threatened by state- and non-state actors. In response to these challenges, NATO Allies have implemented the biggest reinforcement of our collective defence since the end of the Cold War. And we are seeing this desire for increased responsiveness and readiness ripple across the Alliance”.