Denmark and Canada agree on maritime border

Ownership of disputed Hans Island, however, has not been settled just yet

November 29th, 2012 9:55 am| by admin

There is now a definitive border in the waters between Greenland and Canada. 

In a deal facilitated by Greenland, Denmark and Canada have made a border agreement to settle part of a hotly-contested issue that has been ongoing since the 1970s. Public broadcaster DR reported that Denmark's foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), who signed the agreement while in Canada, was pleased with the deal because it would settle disputes over fishing rights and the right to explore the seabed for oil and minerals.

"Now we can draw a very precise border," Søvndal told DR News. "Denmark and Canada are showing that we can settle our disputes peacefully. One might wish the same for the rest of the world."

While the two countries agreed on the placement of the more than 3,000 kilometre sea border, the deal did not, however, include Hans Island, the 1.3 sq km unmanned island found in the narrow waterways between Greenland and Canada. Hans Island has been claimed by both Denmark and Canada, and as part of the last round of negotiations in April, the countries agreed to split the island down the middle according to the maritime boundary that runs up to the southern edge of the island and resumes at the northern tip. The ownership issue, however, was not agreed upon, although Søvndal said that the new maritime border agreement "hopefully opens it up for us to advance even further in the discussions we have had on Hans Island".