Canada and Denmark reach settlement over disputed Arctic island, sources say

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Canada and Denmark reach settlement over disputed Arctic island, sources say

June 11, 2022 Sigma Mist 0

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The crew of Danish warship Vedderen carry out a flag-raising ceremony on the uninhabited Hans Island off northwestern Greenland, on Aug. 13, 2002.VEDDEREN/The Canadian Press

Canada and Denmark have reached a settlement in a decades-old border dispute over Hans Island, a 1.3-square-kilometre rock within the Arctic sea passage between Greenland and Ellesmere Island, sources say.

The Inuit title for the island is Tartupaluk – describing its kidney-like form – and underneath the settlement, a border shall be drawn throughout the island, dividing it between the Canadian territory of Nunavut and the semi-autonomous Danish territory of Greenland.

The Canadians and Danes plan to unveil the settlement June 14 and have a good time it for example of how nations can resolve border disputes peacefully whilst Russia ignored the rules-based worldwide order and launched a full-scale army assault on Ukraine, the sources say. The Globe and Mail shouldn’t be figuring out the sources as a result of they weren’t approved to talk publicly on the matter.

The dispute over tiny Hans Island dates again to the early Seventies when the nations had been negotiating their maritime boundary; they left the standing of the islet for future negotiations.

Aluki Kotierk, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), the authorized consultant of the Inuit of Nunavut on native treaty rights and treaty negotiation, mentioned the dispute has by no means troubled the Inuit. However she nonetheless hailed the deal.

“The dispute between Canada and Denmark over Tartupaluk or Hans Island has by no means induced points for Inuit. Regardless, it’s nice to see Canada and Denmark taking measures to resolve this boundary dispute,” Ms. Kotierk mentioned in an announcement.

“As geographic neighbours with household ties, Inuit in Nunavut and Greenland acknowledge the importance of working collectively towards our widespread future. NTI expects this long-standing relationship between Inuit in Nunavut and Greenland to be an emblem of continued co-operation between Canada and Denmark.”

She additionally famous the elemental function that the Inuit play in cementing Canada’s authority over its Arctic territory. “Canada’s sovereignty within the Arctic is barely potential due to Inuit use and occupancy,” Ms. Kotierk mentioned.

Michael Byers, an Arctic skilled and political scientist at College of British Columbia, applauded information of a deal. He mentioned 2022, when Russia is violating Ukraine’s sovereign territory, is an ideal alternative for Canada and Denmark to “clear up their very own yard and ship a sign to different nations.”

Tussles over Hans Island date again many years.

Again in 1983, Canada issued a land-use allow to a Canadian petroleum firm to ascertain a scientific camp on Hans Island that may research how sea ice may have an effect on drilling rigs, Prof. Byers mentioned. In 1984, Tom Hoyem, then the Danish minister for Greenland, flew to Hans Island by helicopter and planted a Danish flag, prompting the Canadian authorities to situation a diplomatic protest, he added.

Further Danish flag vegetation – and Canadian protests – adopted in 1988, 1995, 2002, 2003 and 2004, Prof. Byers mentioned. In 2000, a crew of geologists from the Geographical Society of Canada visited the island, mapped its location and took geological samples.

In 2004, the Wall Avenue Journal quoted Peter Taksoe-Jensen, authorized adviser to the Danish international minister about how each nations maintained a way of humour all through the dispute: “When Danish army go there, they go away a bottle of schnapps. And when [Canadian] army forces come there, they go away a bottle of Canadian Membership [whisky] and an indication saying, ‘Welcome to Canada.’ ”

In 2005, then-defence minister Invoice Graham visited Hans Island to claim Canada’s declare. His journey got here shortly after Canadian army personnel visited the island and planted a Canadian flag and constructed an Inuit stone marker referred to as an inukshuk.

Mr. Hoyem, the previous Danish minister, responded by writing a column in The Globe the place he asserted that, “Hans Island has been used for hundreds of years by Greenlandic Inuit as a super vantage level to get an summary of the ice scenario and of the searching prospects, particularly for polar bears and seals. The Canadian Inuit have by no means used the island.”

Prof. Byers mentioned Canadians ought to do not forget that the Inuit in Greenland and Nunavut “are the identical individuals and they didn’t have boundaries and borders previous to Europeans arriving.”

He mentioned he thinks that the actual fact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has not made Arctic sovereignty a part of his political model has helped create a scenario the place a deal could possibly be struck.

“It’s an excellent instance of how whenever you dial down the political temperature, you may resolve factors of friction.”

The settlement signifies that for Canadians who can afford the various 1000’s of {dollars} it will value to achieve this islet, Hans Island presents them a singular Canadian land border with Europe.

“It is possible for you to to go to Hans Island and step from Canada into Europe and again into Canada. I can’t think about there shall be any border official there,” Prof. Byers mentioned.

He mentioned the settlement to his information has no impression on surrounding maritime rights as a result of Canada and Denmark settled these issues in 1973.

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