Icelandic Foreign Minister Mr Einar Agustsson devoted his entire speech in the continued United Nations General Assembly world affairs on Friday (September 29) to his country's dispute with Britain over fishing limits.
GV INT. General Assembly (silent)
SV Iceland's Agustsson speaks IN: "For more...." OUT: "...Icelandic area".
LV Delegates listen (silent)
SV UK Jamieson speaks IN: "The United Kingdom...." OUT: "...thank you, Mr President".
ICELANDIC FOREIGN MINISTER AGUSTSSON: "For more than a year now efforts have been made to reach a practical solution of the problems with which the industries of the nations most concerned have been faced in this confection. On that basis, an agreement was in conclusion on September 7, 1972, between Belgium and Iceland whereby a specific number of Belgium trawlers to fish until June 1,1974, during specified periods in certain areas inside the new limits. This is a practical arrangement, which under the circumstances proved to constitute an acceptable solution of the problems involved. Similar arrangements have been made in the case of fishing vessels from the Faros Islands. Discussions with the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany are still in progress, but no solutions been found. Only one member of the United Nations, the United Kingdom, the continued to send fishing vessels inside the limits in violation of Icelandic laws and regulations and serious incidents have already occurred. These activities are connected with an indication of interim measures of protection dated August 17, 1972, issued by the International Court of Justice, which purports to authorise British trawlers to catch 170,000 tons of fish annually in the Icelandic area."
BRITISH DEPUTY AMBASSADOR JAMIESON: "The United Kingdom, for its part, is abiding by this order. Mr President, I do not want to say too much about this matter because my government attach great importance to the fact that the distinguished Foreign Minister of Iceland and my own Foreign Minister agreed during their meeting in New York of the 27 September that the negotiations between us should resume next week. We would wish to do everything possible to encourage an atmosphere favourable to a successful outcome of these negotiations. In any case, it would not be appropriate for me to rehearse all the counter-arguments now, if only because all the issues are before the International Court and it is there that our full legal case will be deployed. However, I must put it on record that my government do not accept as valid the legal arguments in the distinguished foreign minister's statement either on questions of jurisdiction or on substance, and I must also say there are points in the distinguished foreign minister's factual presentation which we cannot accept. Thank you, Mr President."
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Background: Icelandic Foreign Minister Mr Einar Agustsson devoted his entire speech in the continued United Nations General Assembly world affairs on Friday (September 29) to his country's dispute with Britain over fishing limits. He accused Britain of violating Icelandic laws by fishing inside its 50-mile (80-kilometre) limit, and defended the declaration of the new limit on September 1 this year as a matter of 'life and death' to his country.
Replying, Deputy British Ambassador Mr Kenneth Jamieson said his government could not accept Iceland's arguments, but did not wish to present any lengthy counter-arguments that might prejudice continuing talks between the governments, or a case on the dispute already before the International Court of Justice, at the Hague.
British Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas-Home was scheduled to most with Mr Agustsson in New York later. From the seas around Iceland, meanwhile, reports continued to come in of incidents between British trawlers and Icelandic gunboats.