Iceland said Tuesday it had suspended work at its embassy in Russia, the first European country to do so, as commercial, cultural and political relations had slumped to an “all-time low”.
The Nordic country had announced in June that it would be closing its mission.
“The decision to suspend the operations of the Embassy of Iceland in Moscow does not constitute a severance of diplomatic relations,” the Icelandic foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
“As soon as conditions permit, Iceland will prioritise the resumption of operations,” it added.
In its June announcement, the foreign ministry said that since commercial, cultural and political ties with Russia were “at an all-time low”, maintaining embassy operations in Moscow was “no longer justifiable.”
“The current situation simply does not make it viable for the small foreign service of Iceland to operate an embassy in Russia,” Foreign Minister Thordis Gylfadottir said at the time.
The following day, Russia said the decision would “inevitably prompt a response.”
“We will take this unfriendly decision into account when we establish our relations with Iceland in the future,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
In addition to Russia, the embassy in Moscow has also represented Iceland vis-a-vis Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Representation will from now on be covered by Iceland’s foreign ministry in Reykjavik.
According to the foreign ministry, Iceland operates 18 embassies in foreign capitals, “prioritising their location in line with the extent of economic, political and cultural ties or development cooperation.”
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