As a rupture of diplomatic relations between Britain and Iceland appeared inevitable, the recent naval activity, which has strained the situation, was brought to the United Nations on Monday (October 1st).
GTV Icelandic foreign Minister on rostrum.
MV Icelandic foreign Minister speaks -
SV Secretary General
MV British Minister speaking
AGUSTSSON: "The war vessels have repeatedly ignored international rules of navigation, and rammed our coastguard vessels. This constant and hostile behaviour has already led to the loss of human life and obviously such a state of affairs is not only intolerable now out could easily lead to further serious consequences. My Government has continuously protested against these war like activities and demanded the war ships be withdrawn immediately. But so far that request has fallen on deaf ears. My government has informed the British Government that if these activities continue we will feel ourselves obliged to sever diplomatic relations. In view of our traditional friendship with the British people, I sincerely hope that this measure will not become necessary.
MAITLAND: "British vessels British naval vessels have every right to be in t his area which even the Government of Iceland do not claim to be other than high seas. The P.M. of Iceland said this morning that his government's request for the withdrawal of British naval vessels had so far fallen on deaf ears. With respect to the Foreign minister, that I think does less than justice to my Government. We have all along made clear our readiness to withdraw our naval vessels if we could be assured that harassment of British vessels will cease. On the 26th September, only a few days ago, in a personal message to the Icelandic P.M. my P.M. said he was willing to ???ndraw Royal Navy ships from the disputed area if the Government of Iceland for their part would undertake not to interfere with the British trawlers. Mr Heath went on to say that the British Government and British fishing industry would accept a voluntary degree of restriction of the British fishing effort in this area.
Icelandic Minister speaking, British Ambassador speaking.
Initials APSM/2002 APSM/2010
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: As a rupture of diplomatic relations between Britain and Iceland appeared inevitable, the recent naval activity, which has strained the situation, was brought to the United Nations on Monday (October 1st).
Iceland's Foreign Minister Einar Agustsson stood firm on his government's policy of imposing a 50-mile fishing limit. He charged that British naval vessels were ignoring international rules of navigation.
Britain's U.N. Ambassador Donald Maitland in turn denied the charges and insisted that his country's navy had every right to be in the area.
The apparently unbreakable deadlock was eased when Britain later agreed to withdraw its Naval frigates and tugs to permit further negotiation on the issue between the two countries.