01:20 GMT04 March 2021
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    Iceland's government stands for exploring every option for the beneficial cooperation with the United Kingdom after its expected withdrawal from the European Union, with Britain joining the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) being one of the options, a spokeswoman for the Icelandic Foreign Ministry told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Following a Brexit vote, UK Prime Minister Theresa May proposed to secure a Brexit which would allow London to remain part of the EU single market, with membership of the EFTA, which includes non-EU members Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, regarded as the best way to do so.

    "The Icelandic authorities believe it is important to explore all avenues of cooperation to guarantee continued stability in our relations with the United Kingdom and thereby to secure future economic and trade arrangements that are at least comparable to the current arrangements under the EEA [European Economic Area] and other cooperation agreements. We believe it is premature to exclude any possible outcome, including for Britain to join EFTA," Urdur Gunnarsdottir said.

    "While UK’s withdrawal from the EU is being negotiated, there will not be any alterations to our economic and trade relations, movement of persons or any other cooperation arrangements. " Gunnarsdottir said, expressing confidence "that the work that lies ahead will produce good results and continue beneficial cooperation between the relevant countries."

    She added that at the current stage Iceland was considering three options of dealing with Brexit, which include initiating either bilateral Iceland-UK or UK-EFTA joint discussions on a deep and comprehensive economic and trade agreement, as well as ensuring that EEA and EFTA states are aligned in the upcoming negotiations between London and Brussels.

    On Tuesday, Norwegian European Affairs Minister Elisabeth Vik Aspaker said it was not exactly in Oslo's interests if London joined the EFTA after Brexit. One of the major concerns for Norway is that it would have to face an incredibly long and complex process of renegotiating numerous trade agreements if the United Kingdom were to join.


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    European Union, Brexit, European Free Trade Association (EFTA), United Kingdom, Iceland
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