The Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, announced today the decision to suspend operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow from 1 August 2023.
Today, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs summoned the Russian Ambassador to inform him of this decision. Furthermore, Iceland has requested that Russia limit the operations of its Embassy in Reykjavík, in line with article 11 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and that the level of diplomatic representation be lowered.
"This is not an easy decision as Iceland has enjoyed rich relations with the people of Russia since our independence in 1944. However, the current situation simply does not make it viable for the small foreign service of Iceland to operate an embassy in Russia. I hope that conditions will someday allow for us to have normal and fruitful relations with Russia, but that depends on decisions taken by the Kremlin," said Foreign Minister Gylfadóttir.
Iceland operates eighteen bilateral embassies in foreign capitals, prioritizing their location in line with the extent of economic, political and cultural ties or development cooperation.
At the moment, commercial, cultural or political relations with Russia are at an all-time low. Hence, maintaining operations of the embassy of Iceland in Moscow is no longer justifiable.
Iceland has been operating an embassy in Moscow since 1944, except between 1951-1953, when there was no trade between the countries. The Soviet Union did not have an ambassador in Reykjavík from 1948-1954.
A decision to suspend the operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow does not constitute a severance of diplomatic relations. As soon as conditions permit, Iceland will prioritize the resumption of operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow.
Source: the Ministry for Foreign Affairs