On June 1 Bryndís Kjartansdóttir, Director General of the Directorate of Security and Defence Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Iceland who also serves as the Chief of Defence, conducted her first formal visit to Lithuania to meet with Lithuania’s Chief of Defence LT Gen Valdemaras Rupšys and representatives of the Lithuanian Armed Forces.
“It is symbolic how this meeting takes place immediately after the NATO Summit has brought the decisions so important to Lithuania. Iceland is one of the countries that supports Lithuania in its efforts to strengthen defence. We have always been grateful to Iceland for recognizing Lithuania’s independence and recently – particularly for the contribution to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Battle Group Lithuania. At the meeting, we have discussed the security situation and plans ahead. Including Iceland’s potential contribution to the NATO Force Integration Unit in Lithuania,” said Chief of Defence Lt Gen V. Rupšys.
The bilateral meeting has been held aiming to step the cooperation between Lithuania and Iceland in the area of security and defence, exchange of insights into the current security environment and address bilateral cooperation.
“The main goal of my visit is to meet military representatives because Lithuania and Iceland have been partners for many years. Iceland has also been delegating experts to the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion Lithuania for a while now and we intend to continue our contribution to this mission. We highly value the cooperation between our countries on security and defence and we have discussed plenty of topical issues in the area during this meeting,” said Bryndís Kjartansdóttir.
Iceland ensures its national security via NATO membership and bilateral cooperation with the U.S. Iceland is does not have a regular/standing military capabilities, it upholds a comprehensive approach to security and is a member of major organisations – UN, NATO, OSCE. Iceland has the defence structures, equipment, capabilities and experience necessary to tackle issues in the area of security and defence. Its national security policy promotes stronger cyber security and underlines that the Government’s policies must take into account other threats, such terrorism, organized crime, threats to financial and economic stability.
Iceland joined the United Kingdom-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF), a capability building on an expeditious response, activation of land, maritime and air elements and potential deployment to NATO Article 5 (collective defence) operations, in 2021, thus becoming the 10th European partner in the European partner security initiative alongside the UK, Lithuania, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Finland. The JEF is an instrument of deterrence and defence and strengthens security in the High North, North Atlantic and enhances European military capabilities.
After the meetings with the Lithuanian military, Director General B. Kjartansdóttir will visit the NATO Force Integration Unit HQ in Vilnius and the NATO enhanced Forward Presence Battalion in Rukla.
Info credits: Lithuanian Armed Forces
Photo credits: Maj Paulius Babilas, Alfredas Pliadis