Iceland’s PM Will Miss Pence Visit Due to Scheduling Snafu

Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir

(Bloomberg) -- Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir won’t be there to greet U.S. Vice President Mike Pence when he visits the north Atlantic island early next month.

But she insists that the latest diplomatic misstep between the U.S. and the Nordic region is due to a scheduling conflict rather than because of political differences.

“The visit was originally scheduled for September 6 and then the third, and now I am told it has been moved to the fourth,” Jakobsdottir told Bloomberg. “I think it is strange to make something suspicious out of my absence.”

Jakobsdottir, a left-of-center feminist and LGBT advocate, is due to attend a conference by Nordic trade union leaders in Sweden on Sept. 4. The Pence visit has been organized by Iceland’s Foreign Ministry.

Jakobsdottir told RUV television that she has met with U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo as well as President Donald Trump. “I can assure everyone that when Mike Pence arrives, and I hope the date is final now, he will be greeted by a battery of Icelandic policy makers.”

Nordic neighbor Denmark has been embroiled in controversy over the past days, with Trump canceling a visit after he was told he couldn’t buy Greenland. Trump has also recently been involved in a spat with Sweden over the incarceration of rapper A$AP Rocky.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir in Reykjavik at rsigurdardot@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jonas Bergman at jbergman@bloomberg.net, Nick Rigillo

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