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Foreign relations of Iceland

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 nations are particularly close. Icelanders remain especially proud of the role Iceland played in hosting the historic 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit in Reykjavik, which set the stage for the end of the Cold War.

Iceland's principal historical international dispute involved disagreements over fishing rights. Conflict with Britain led to the so-called Cod War of 1975-76. Disagreements with Norway and Russia over fishing rights in the Barents Sea were successfully resolved in 2000. Certain environmentalists are concerned that Iceland left the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in June 1992 in protest of an IWC decision to refuse to lift the ban on whaling, after the IWC Scientific Committee had determined that the taking of certain species could safely be resumed. That year, Iceland established its own commission--which the U.S. does not recognize--along with Norway, Greenland, and the Faroes for the conservation, management, and study of marine mammals. Since then, Iceland has not resumed whaling but has asserted the right to do so, and in order to achieve that goal, has rejoined the IWC, in October 2002.

Icelanders have a strong emotional bond toward the Baltic States, and Iceland prides itself on being the first country to recognize their independence. Iceland also is the greatest Nordic contributor per capita to NATO-led troops in Bosnia and Kosovo, to police in Bosnia, and to Bosnia/Kosovo reconstruction, resettlement, and relief.

Membership in International Organizations
Iceland is a member of the following organizations: North Atlantic Treaty Organization; Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe[?]; Western European Union (associate member); International Criminal Court; International Bank for Reconstruction and Development; International Development Association; International Finance Corporation; Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development; European Economic Area; European Free Trade Organization[?]; Council of Europe; International Criminal Police Organization; and the United Nations and most of its specialized agencies, including the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, Food and Agricultural Organization[?], International Atomic Energy Agency, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Labor Organization, International Maritime Organization, International Telecommunications Union, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, Universal Postal Union, World Health Organization,World Meteorological Organizationand the International Whaling Commission.

Disputes - international: Rockall continental shelf dispute involving Denmark, Ireland, and the UK (Ireland and the UK have signed a boundary agreement in the Rockall area)

See also : Iceland

External Link: Iceland's Ministry of Foreign Affairs


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