Stjórnmál og Stjórnsýsla (Jun 2016)

Iceland’s Alleged Reservation to Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty

  • Sigurjón Njarðarson,
  • Bjarni Már Magnússon

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 12, no. 1
pp. 67 – 80


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When Iceland became a party to NATO, the Icelandic government seems to have believed that it made a reservation to the core obligation of the North Atlantic Treaty – the “one for all and all for one” obligation — in a speech held during a dinner celebrating its signature. A few decades later, this belief prevails, to some extent, in Icelandic politics. This opinion has no substance in international law. As is discussed, the reservation does not conform to formal and substantive requirements that international law makes to reservations. Consequently, Iceland is bound by the North Atlantic Treaty in the same way as other member states.