Denmark, Canada to sign deal ending dispute over Arctic isle

A territorial dispute between Denmark and Canada over a barren and uninhabited rock in the Arctic has come to an end, with the two friendly countries agreeing to divide the tiny island between them. Under the agreement, signed yesterday, a border will be drawn across the 1.3 square kilometres (0.5 square miles) Hans Island, in the waterway between the northwestern coast of the semi-autonomous Danish territory of Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere Island. The rock has no mineral reserves. Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod said it was “an important signal now that there is much war and unrest in the world”.

Canada and Denmark agreed in 1973 to create a border through Nares Strait, halfway between Greenland and Canada. But they were unable to agree on which country would have sovereignty over Hans Island. In the end, they decided to work out the question of ownership later.

In 1984, Denmark’s minister of Greenland affairs raised a Danish flag on the island, buried a bottle of Danish schnapps and left a note saying: “Welcome to the Danish island.”

Canadians then planted their own flag and left a bottle of Canadian brandy.



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