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Greenland tells Trump it is open for business but not for sale

  • Published at 01:23 am August 17th, 2019
Greenland-General
General view of Upernavik in western Greenland, Denmark July 11, 2015. Picture taken July 11, 2015 Reuters

Talk of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal

Greenland yesterday dismissed the notion that it might be up for sale after reports that US President Donald Trump had privately discussed with his advisers the idea of buying the world's biggest island.

"We are open for business, but we're not for sale," Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters.

Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory.

Talk of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. Two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters that the notion had been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but was taken more seriously by others in the White House.

Danish politicians on Friday poured scorn on the idea.

"It has to be an April Fool's joke. Totally out of season," former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter.

"If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad," foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People's Party, Soren Espersen, told broadcaster DR.

"The thought of Denmark selling 50,000 citizens to the United States is completely ridiculous," he said.

Greenland, a self-ruling part of Denmark located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependant on Danish economic support. It handles its own domestic affairs while Copenhagen looks after defence and foreign policy.

"I am sure a majority in Greenland believes it is better to have a relation to Denmark than the United States, in the long term," Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Danish MP from Greenland's second-largest party Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), told Reuters.

"My immediate thought is 'No, thank you'," she said.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod were not available for comment but officials said they would respond later on Friday. The US Embassy in Copenhagen was also not immediately available for comment.

"Oh dear lord. As someone who loves Greenland, has been there nine times to every corner and loves the people, this is a complete and total catastrophe," former US ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, said in on Twitter.

Greenland is gaining attention from global super powers including China, Russia and the United States due to its strategic location and its mineral resources.

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