Iceland's prime minister will not be in town for Pence's visit

Iceland's prime minister will not be in town for Pence's visit
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Iceland Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir said she won’t be in town during Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PencePence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal Pence says US is 'locked and loaded' to defend allies Trump awards Yankees legend Mariano Rivera the Medal of Freedom MORE’s upcoming visit to the country next month due to previous scheduling arrangements she made around the same time.

Jakobsdottir cited the Council of Nordic Trade Unions conference in Malmo, Sweden, where she is scheduled to deliver a keynote address the day before Pence is set to arrive in Iceland, as reason for her absence.

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“The fact is that I was very long ago asked to give the keynote speech at the annual conference of the Nordic trades unions movement and, as everybody knows, I have made workplace matters a personal issue,” she said in an interview with Icelandic publication RUV released on Wednesday. 

“It is also a fact that this visit that was organized by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs has been bouncing a lot around the calendar so that it has been very difficult to organize oneself around it,” Jakobsdottir continued.

As the local publication notes, Pence is scheduled to discuss the country’s “strategic geographical position in relation to the Arctic” and NATO efforts during the upcoming visit.

When pressed by the publication about whether Jakobsdottir’s decision to skip the coming visit was to rebuff the Trump administration in any way in light of recent tensions that have arisen between Trump and Denmark, Jakobsdottir said, “Absolutely not.”

“On the one hand, we have many projects to attend to. I had a good meeting with Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Pence says US is 'locked and loaded' to defend allies US-Iran next moves — Déjà vu of Obama administration mistakes? MORE, US Secretary of State, earlier this year and also had a discussion with Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness, ballots and battling opioids: Why the Universal Postal Union benefits the US Sanders supporters cry foul over Working Families endorsement of Warren California poll: Biden, Sanders lead Democratic field; Harris takes fifth MORE at the NATO meeting last year,” she continued.

“I can promise everyone that when Mike Pence comes here – and I am working on the assumption that the date is now firm – that he will meet a top-ranking team of Icelandic leaders,” she added.

Tensions between Trump and Denmark emerged earlier this week following reports that Trump had talked about possibly purchasing Greenland.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen called the idea "absurd,” saying, “Greenland is not Danish. Greenland is Greenlandic. I persistently hope that this is not something that is seriously meant.”

In response to Frederiksen’s reaction, Trump canceled a visit he had scheduled to Denmark next month, saying in a tweet on Tuesday: “Denmark is a very special country with incredible people, but based on Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s comments, that she would have no interest in discussing the purchase of Greenland, I will be postponing our meeting scheduled in two weeks for another time.”

"The Prime Minister was able to save a great deal of expense and effort for both the United States and Denmark by being so direct. I thank her for that and look forward to rescheduling sometime in the future!" he also tweeted.