Nordic solidarity? Iceland’s PM to skip Pence meeting, as Trump rows with Denmark
Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir plans to skip talks with US Vice President Mike Pence. This comes as Donald Trump cancelled his trip to Denmark after it refused to sell him Greenland.
Jakobsdottir confirmed that she will not have a meeting with Pence, who is scheduled to arrive in Reykjavik on September 2 to talk about security and defense. The prime minister said, however, that the move is not meant to snub Pence. She explained that she will simply be busy giving a speech at the Council of Nordic Trade Unions (NFS), an influential regional labor confederation.
“It goes without saying that I was invited for a very long time to give the keynote address,” she told Icelandic public broadcaster RUV. “And, as everyone knows, I have now been concerned about the labor market.”
“It is also a fact that this visit that was organised by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has been bouncing a lot around the calendar so that it has been very difficult to organise oneself around it.”
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There were reports that Pence’s visit may be problematic for Jakobsdottir because her party, the Left-Green Movement (VG), strongly calls for Iceland to leave NATO and become neutral.
The PM stated that her absence during Pence’s trip is “absolutely not” tied with any political criticism she would have faced while hosting him.
Jakobsdottir’s decision, however, comes amid a growing diplomatic spat between Trump and another Nordic country, Denmark. The president canceled his trip to there, after a bizarre turn of events, in which he tried to purchase the Arctic island of Greenland, and Copenhagen refused.
Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the proposal to sell Greenland “absurd.” But Trump took offense.
“I thought it was not nice – the way she blew me off,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday.
Iceland was in a personal union with the Danish monarch until 1944, when it became fully independent. The countries maintain close political and economic relations.
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