From Terhi Kinnunen, Reuters: Finland and Sweden plan to join some NATO air surveillance operations over Iceland, their prime ministers said on Tuesday, in a sign the neutral Nordic states are ready for more cooperation with the Western alliance. . . .
The move has been politically sensitive, particularly in Finland where many fear it would breach the country’s neutrality and provoke neighboring Russia.
"Finland will inform Iceland’s government that we are willing to participate in Iceland’s air space surveillance in 2014, together with Sweden," [Finland’s Prime Minister Jyrki] Katainen said at a meeting of Nordic leaders in Helsinki. . . .
Sweden’s Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, at the same meeting, said his country was "positive" about Iceland’s request. Swedish participation was a condition for Finland’s decision to join the operation.
From Iceland Review: “We have decided that it would be natural for Sweden and Finland to join Norway’s surveillance stint between January and April 2014,” Katainen said.
Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who is participating in the meeting of Nordic and Baltic States Prime Ministers in Helsinki, welcomed the declaration of intent.
According to ruv.is, it has not yet been decided whether the aircrafts will be armed. The ultimate decision is however subject to approval by national parliaments, governments and NATO. NATO must approve the participation of the two non-NATO countries in the patrols. Jóhanna said that she believes the Icelandic government supports the move. (photo: Sebastien Pirlet/Reuters)