The Icelandic Foreign Minister, Mr. Einar Augustsson gave newsmen frosty reception when he flew into?
The Icelandic Foreign Minister, Mr. Einar Augustsson gave newsmen frosty reception when he flew into London on Wednesday (22 October) on the eve of talks with the British Government over a new fisheries agreement
At Heathrow Airport he first refused to meet journalists then changed his mind before leaving for the Foreign office. Mr. Augustsson was asked about the threat of a new and more intensive cod war, if negotiations failed. He replied: "I don't know anything about that." He refused all other questions on the issue.
Negotiations between the Icelandic and British Government have reached a delicate stage. The current fishing agreement between the two countries runs out on November 13. And earlier this month Iceland extended its ban on fishing by foreign vessels from 50 miles to 200 miles (8 kilometres to 320 kilometres)
The London talks are the second round of discussions which opened Reykjavik, the Icelandic capital last month. No agreement was reached then but officials were more optimistic of an understanding
An indication of the strength of feeling has come from the Icelandic Federation of Labour. It has banned the servicing of West German support ships for their fishing vessels. This is a stepping up of the hard line taken by Iceland in its separate but parallel dispute with the West Germans who are not involved in the London talks
In the 1973 Cod War, Icelandic gun boat crews boarded British and West German trawlers. Some were detained and the Royal Navy was sent in to protect British vessels
(This film is serviced with part of an interview in English by VISNEWS reporter Peter Kimber with Icelandic Foreign Minister Einar Agustsson, a transcript of which appears below: