Iceland faces major diplomatic protest over whaling issue –

Iceland faces major diplomatic protest over whaling issue Published:  01 November, 2006

DIPLOMATS from around the world, led by Britain’s ambassador, have today delivered a strongly-worded protest condemning Iceland over its decision to resume commercial whaling.

British Ambassador to Iceland Alp Mehmet today led a group of other

countries’ ambassadors, including the USA, Germany, and France, to Iceland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to urge the government there to abandon the killing.

It follows last week’s move by UK Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw who summoned Iceland’s ambassador to express his grave concern over the decision to defy a worldwide ban on whaling.

The protest-demarche-signed by 25 countries including Australia, Brazil, Finland,France, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the USA as well as the European Commission, said:”We call upon Iceland to respect the moratorium and halt its commercial whaling operations. We believe that commercial whaling quotas determined and prosecuted in the absence of any agreed management system undermines the proper functioning of the International Whaling Commission.

“We repeat our countries’ opposition to this operation and urge the

Government of Iceland to reconsider its position and reverse this

unnecessary decision, and to abandon its current operations.”

Ben Bradshaw said:”This united action shows the depth of feeling and concern not only in Britain but all over the world about this cruel and abhorrent activity.There is no justifiable reason to kill these whales. Today’s protest leaves Iceland in no doubt about the strength of feeling against its decision to side-step an international agreement to stop the killing of whales. It has done great damage to its reputation and image. We and the many other countries that oppose the killing of whales will react in the strongest possible way to any attempt by Iceland to open trade in whale meat.”

The UK will continue to protest at the highest level against Iceland’s