Iceland has confirmed that it has held informal discussions with an intermediary of Edward Snowden, who reportedly thought about seeking political asylum in the North Atlantic country.
Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson said that a representative of the US intelligence leaker has held some informal talks with people from some relevant ministries, but no formal talks have taken place to date.
Gunnlaugsson, who was speaking in Stockholm, said that Snowden, who was in Hong Kong after leaking classified information on a US electronic surveillance program, must be in Iceland to apply for asylum. He added, however, that as he is not Iceland at present it’s not an issue for him to comment on.
Meanwhile, Iceland Interior Minister Hanna Kristjánsdóttir said that the government was approached by WikiLeaks website spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, who asked to discuss the issue with a ministry representative. She confirmed that Iceland agreed to the meeting and discussed the Snowden situation.
However, Kristjansdóttir said that Iceland did not feel it had to comply with a 2010 resolution by the former government stating that the country should be a safe haven for whistleblowers and journalists around the globe. She explained that the resolution is not connected to asylum seeker-related laws.
Snowden earlier described Iceland as a nation that shares his values. But many experts now feel Reykjavik’s new centre-right coalition may not be as prepared to create rifts with the US as the previous leftist government was.