U.S. & Greenland

Secretary Kerry visited Greenland in June 2016. Photo: State Dept.
Secretary Kerry visited Greenland in June 2016. Photo: State Dept.

The United States and Greenland continue to expand their dynamic partnership, strengthening relations well beyond a traditional focus on security policy. In August 2004, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller and Home Rule Deputy Premier Josef Motzfeldt met in Igaliku, Greenland to sign an update to the 1951 Defense of Greenland Agreement and two additional political declarations that have broadened and deepened cooperation between the United States and Greenland. Specifically, the Igaliku Agreements created the Joint Committee, which now serves as an expanded forum to promote cooperation between the United States, Denmark and Greenland.

The Joint Committee meets biannually, but its working groups facilitate more frequent interaction between government, academic, and private institutions in the United States, Greenland, and Denmark to advance common projects and encourage cooperation across a diverse range of policy areas: environment, science, health, technology, trade, tourism, education, and culture.

The relationship between the United States and Greenland continues to expand and improve and become much more versatile. U.S. activities in Greenland include official visits, people-to-people exchanges, expert consultations, cooperation on environment, science, technology, and health concerns, security support, and diplomatic and consular visits.

Thule Air Base is still very much a cornerstone for U.S.-Greenland relations. Thule Air Base is much more than just an American military unit in the far North. Thule Air Base also helps surrounding communities get hold of the things they need. Thule Air Base has a 10,000 foot runway which allows air access and which can support the nearby communities. Thule Air Base’s port enables heavy machinery, construction materials, scientific equipment, annual expendables, and fuel to be delivered during the three month port season, so that new constructions and renovations can begin. Additionally, Thule Air Base enables Greenlandic fishermen and the Danish Navy access to supplies and fuel, which is crucial to their operations in the cold, cold North.