Finland’s Defence Minister Carl Haglund believes that the government in Helsinki will decide the issue within a month.
The Norwegian press reports that Finnish fighter aircraft will be defending Iceland’s airspace under Norwegian command.
The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported Friday that President Sauli Niinistö confirmed to officials in Oslo this week that details for Finnish participation in joint Nordic surveillance of Icelandic airspace are falling into place.
According to Defence Minister Carl Haglund, a final decision should be forthcoming within the next few weeks.
“Indeed, my impression is that the spirit around this is very positive, both within the government and within Parliament. There are certain conditions that are being clarified and on that basis a final decision will be made. But, yes, I hope and believe that this will be possible,” Haglund said on Friday.
Issues that have not yet been settled are connected to legal matters, funding and Swedish participation. Finland has coordinated closely with Sweden in preparations for the venture.
“An important condition is that we reach a common decision with Sweden,” Haglund added.
The plan calls for Finland and Sweden, which are not NATO members, to patrol Icelandic airspace under Norwegian command for a three-week period in 2014. If plans go ahead, Finland is to provide three Hornet fighter aircraft and 30-40 personnel. A Defence Ministry estimate of the costs Finland would incur ranges between 200,000 and 300,000 euros.
According to Haglund, Finland looks at the plan as a joint Nordic exercise. Finland and Sweden would patrol, but any actual action would be left to Norway, as a NATO member country.
During peacetime, NATO is responsible for the surveillance of Iceland’s airspace. In a conflict, responsibility for defense would be taken on by the USA.
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