Finland conditions Iceland patrols

Sept. 5, 2012 at 12:18 PM

HELSINKI, Finland, Sept. 5 (UPI) -- Nordic countries may provide joint military surveillance of Iceland's air space, replacing the role previously performed by the United States.

YLE Finnish Broadcasting Corp., quoting Finland Defense Minister Carl Haglund, said the proposed program is viewed positively by Nordic states but a number of conditions need to be met before Finland participates.

Among them: Sweden would need to be involved in the patrols; the decision to participate would be legally sound and that Finland would have the monetary wherewithal to take part.

Under the proposal, Norway would have overall responsibility for the program but Sweden and Finland would take part in exercises.

"All the indications are Finland's participation alongside Sweden would be in the way of exercises," Haglund said. "The main responsibility would lie with Norway and only then with Finland and Sweden if they take part."

Iceland is a member of NATO but doesn't have its own defense forces.

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