Iceland’s Foreign Minister announced the suspension of the embassy’s work in Moscow from August 1.
“This is not an easy decision because Iceland has maintained rich relations with the people of Russia since our independence in 1944. However, the current situation simply does not allow Iceland’s small diplomatic service to have an embassy in Russia”, said Foreign Minister Thordis Gylfadottir.
At the moment, Iceland’s trade, cultural and political relations with Russia are at an all-time low, making it unreasonable to keep an embassy in the country, an official statement said.
However, the decision to suspend the embassy’s activities is not a severance of diplomatic relations. As soon as conditions allow, Iceland will give priority to resuming the work of its mission in Russia, the Icelandic Foreign Ministry stressed.
Iceland has 18 embassies around the world. The country opened an office in Russia in 1944, but closed it in the last years of Joseph Stalin’s rule – in 1951–1953. The Soviet Union did not have an ambassador in Reykjavik from 1948 to 1954.
In connection with the closure of the embassy, Iceland asked Russia to limit the activities of its diplomatic mission in Reykjavik in accordance with Article 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and to lower the level of diplomatic representation.
Iceland was the first country to stop the operation of its embassy in Russia. At the end of May, Germany announced the closure of three of its five consulates in Russia, as well as almost all Russian general consulates in Germany. Berlin made the decision in response to Russia’s introduction of a cap on the number of employees at the German embassy and related bodies. Earlier, Moscow had limited their number to 350 people.