Large reduction in US Military activity in Iceland
The decision has been made that the US military's activities at the Keflavik Airbase will be greatly reduced later this year. US fighter jets and search and rescue helicopters of the Iceland Defense Force will be removed from the country by the end of September, at the latest. Simultaneously, US authorities have reiterated their commitment to the defense of Iceland in accordance with the 1951 Bilateral Defense Agreement between US and Iceland. This decision, made by US President George W. Bush, was conveyed by a telephone call on Wednesday from US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs, Mr. Nicholas Burns, to Icelandic Foreign Minister Geir H. Haarde. The Government of Iceland has expressed its disappointment with this decision but is willing to held talks with the US on alternative defense mechanisms.