US wants 'stronger' ties with Greenland without buying it, assures Blinken

Kangerlussuaq, Denmark Published: May 21, 2021, 04:14 PM(IST)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a press conference at the Kangerlussuaq Airport in Greenland, May 20, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )

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Last year, the US reopened a consulate in Greenland's capital Nuuk and pledged $12 million in aid for civilian projects

The US wants to strengthen its relationship with Greenland, especially commercially, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday, but stressed that they, unlike Donald Trump, don't want to buy it.

Also Read | US President Donald Trump confirms interest in buying Greenland

Blinken visited the Danish autonomous territory as he ended a four-day trip that included a meeting of the foreign ministers of countries bordering the Arctic in Reykjavik.

"I am in Greenland because the United States deeply values our partnership and wants to make it even stronger," Antony Blinken told reporters on his final stop of the Arctic tour.

Last year, the US reopened a consulate in Greenland's capital Nuuk and pledged $12 million in aid for civilian projects.

Also Read | Why Donald Trump wants to buy Greenland

While he spoke of potential additional funding, Blinken was vague about new US projects, even though the new Greenlandic local government had floated the idea of a free trade agreement earlier in the week.

"We would like to find ways to strengthen even more the commercial relationship," Blinken said.

The then US president Donald Trump's 2019 proposal to buy the Arctic territory, described as "absurd" by the Danish government, caused a diplomatic kerfuffle but meanwhile signalled in clear terms the US' renewed interest in the region.

Also Read | Greenland tells US President Donald Trump it is open for business but not for sale

Asked whether the US had definitively ruled out any plans to buy Greenland, Blinken replied with a smile: "I can confirm that's correct."

Greenlandic new young Prime Minister Mute Egede, who came to power in April, said he was "convinced that this decade will be the beginning of a new era in the relationship between our countries."

The left-wing government, which won snap parliamentary elections last month, is allied with a small pro-independence party, Naleraq, which has shown itself to be in favour of mending ties with the US.

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