Icelandic Foreign Minister Upbeat on Icesave Resolution ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson
Icelandic Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphédinsson Source: Photo: Reuters/Scanpix

During an official visit to Estonia on Friday, Iceland's Foreign Minister Össur Skarphédinsson expressed optimism that his nation's dispute with the UK and the Netherlands over repayment of Icesave debts could be resolved, saying that current high-level talks on the matter were going "quite well."

"I think [there is] a better understanding between those countries and Iceland than before, and I also feel that there is a greater will to conclude the matter in a way that is acceptable to both,"  Skarphédinsson said, speaking at a press conference at the Estonian Foreign Ministry.

"The question really never was whether Iceland wanted to pay or not. The question was about […] the time-value of money - the interest that we have to pay," he said.

Skarphédinsson also noted that the talks were being held in a much more friendly atmosphere than previously, and that two major hurdles to moving forward with the talks – the elections in the UK and the Netherlands – were now out of the way.

Iceland's dispute with the two countries stems from the 2008 failure of Landsbankinn, which operated under the brand-name Icesave. The UK and Netherlands ended up footing the bill to compensate depositors in their countries some 3.8 billion euros, for which they want repayment from Iceland.

The unresolved political conflict has threatened to stifle Iceland's hopes to join the European Union.

Official negotiations for the country's EU accession began on July 27.

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