Norway backs more aid to Iceland

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Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre wasn’t happy to hear Iceland’s president criticize Norway and other Nordic neighbors, for allegedly failing to provide the financially strapped country with more support. Støre says Norway is ready to help Iceland, and denies Norway is blocking an IMF aid program.

Støre claimed this week that Norway is willing to lend more money to Iceland, even without a completed agreement on the Icesave issue, which demands repayment of huge losses suffered in the Netherlands and UK when the bank collapsed.

Sweden’s finance minister, Anders Borg, upset Icelandic officials when he all but dismissed the results of a referendum in which more than 90 percent of Icelandic voters refused to accept the Icesave agreement. Borg said the Icelanders can’t simply look away from their obligations.

Støre said he could understand the negative reaction in Iceland, telling news bureau NTB that “no one in Iceland is saying they won’t heed their obligations, but it’s a matter of how they’re handled.” 

Støre maintains that Norway is a firm friend of Iceland, willing to help the country out of its economic crisis. Norway won’t insist on a completed Icesave deal as a condition lending Iceland more money through the IMF. 

“The Nordic countries should in no way block a meeting about this at the IMF,” he told newspaper Aftenposten.

By Views and News staff