COPENHAGEN — The United States and Greenland have agreed to strengthen economic and trade ties after resolving a dispute over a service contract to a U.S. air base in the north of the Arctic island.
The Thule Air Base has been a sore point between the United States, Greenland and Denmark since the Pentagon in 2014 awarded a service contract to a U.S. company, breaking a decade-long agreement of keeping it in Danish-Greenlandic hands.
After U.S. President Donald Trump’s rebuffed attempt to buy the island last year, the United States, in a renewed focus on the Arctic, set up a consulate in Greenland and also donated $12 million in aid towards developing the small economy.
“The case is of great importance to Greenland in principle,” Greenland’s foreign minister, Steen Lynge, said in a joint statement between Greenland and Denmark released late on Wednesday.
“We are proud that Pituffik (Thule) and Greenland’s key role in American security has now been recognized.”
Under the new agreement, the United States is committed to awarding the next contract, most likely in 2024, to a company registered in Greenland or Denmark, with a majority ownership by Danes or Greenlanders.
Greenland, a semi-autonomous part of the Kingdom of Denmark, is largely dependent on state aid from Denmark, which also handles most foreign and security affairs.