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Pompeo Discusses Arctic Cooperation In Copenhagen Amid Rivalry For Region's Wealth

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is greeted by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Copenhagen on July 22.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is greeted by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen in Copenhagen on July 22.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had a “positive meeting” with his counterparts from Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands as they discussed Arctic cooperation amid growing economic and military competition in the region.

Pompeo met July 22 with the three foreign ministers in Copenhagen, marking the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of State to Denmark since 2016.

The top U.S. diplomat also discussed energy security, including the construction of Russia’s controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which runs through Denmark’s economic waters.

The United States, Russia, and China are among countries vying for dominance in the Arctic, which is believed to possess massive energy and mining resources. Global warming is opening up the region to more exploration and shipping routes.

The United States has accused Russia of militarizing its regions of the Arctic and as called for more cooperation among allies with Arctic territory, including Denmark and Canada.

Greenland and the Faroe Islands, which are members of the Arctic Council, an international organization, are both part of the Kingdom of Denmark.

Pompeo said in a statement that he welcomed the reopening of a U.S. Consulate in Greenland. The Arctic island is also home to the key Thule base, the northernmost U.S. defense site.

He also said the Faroe Islands and the United States had agreed to enhance economic ties, including in the fisheries industry. He gave no further details on the agreement.

The ministers did not discuss the possible purchase of Greenland by the United States, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said.

“That discussion was dealt with last year, it was not on the table,” Kofod said.

U.S. President Donald Trump raised the idea of buying Greenland last year ahead of a planned visit to Copenhagen. When the idea was rejected by Denmark, Trump canceled his trip.

Prior to his talks with Kofod, Greenland's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Energy Steen Lynge, and Faroe Islands Minister for Foreign Affairs and Culture Jenis av Rana, Pompeo met with Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen.

Pompeo and Frederiksen discussed “European energy security and other matters of mutual concern,” the U.S. State Department said.

The United States is seeking to halt the Kremlin’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea.

Russia is trying to lay the last remaining segment of the pipeline near Danish watters.

Nord Stream 2, which consists of two parallel lines stretching 1,230 kilometers each, is more than 90 percent complete.

After Denmark gave approval to Russian vessels to finish the work, Pompeo said July 15 that the United States would sanction any company that assists the project.

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