Denmark clears way for Russia representation in Greenland

Denmark’s foreign minister said the country will not oppose Russia’s request to appoint an honorary consul on the Arctic island of Greenland, as a race among global powers for control over Arctic resources and waterways heats up.

President Vladimir Putin has made developing Russia’s swathe of the Arctic a priority, revamping infrastructure, beefing up its military presence and hoping to transform its Northern Sea Route into an important shipping route.

“The fact that our request to support the candidacy of an honorary consul on Greenland was fairly promptly supported shows they are interested in Copenhagen in our relations developing and we value that,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news briefing on Friday.

Denmark’s foreign minister Jeppe Kofod said during a visit to Moscow on Friday that the Danish government would not oppose the Russian request to appoint an honorary consul, adding that “this is completely normal,” Ritzau news agency reported.

The United States this year opened a consulate in Greenland’s capital Nuuk for the first time since 1953 and last year U.S. President Donald Trump even proposed buying Greenland from Denmark.

Honorary consuls are not career diplomats, but are usually local citizens designated by a foreign government to assist its citizens and help promote commercial and trade ties.

Only Iceland and the United States have diplomatic representation in Greenland, while thirteen other countries, including Germany, South Korea, Britain and Canada, have honorary consuls there.