Anders Samuelsen has left today on a trip to Washington DC, the Foreign Ministry confirmed in a press release.
Once there, he will be taking part in meetings of the coalition against Islamic State (IS). The US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is hosting the meeting, and Samuelsen will also meet senators Ron Johnson and John McCain.
“I have two important things to say to the meeting. Firstly, Denmark places a lot of importance in the new US administration keeping up the momentum in the fight against IS. This applies to military pressure, but also just as much to the civilian angle. Stopping the flow of money to IS is a priority.”
Denmark is a solid contributor to the coalition’s efforts. Samuelsen went on to say that he would “encourage the coalition to use greater efforts to ensure peace after the military activities have ended”.
The meeting with John McCain, who is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Ron Johnson, the chair of the Committee of Foreign Relations subcommittee on Europe, is to discuss the new administration’s foreign policy and US-Danish co-operation.
“I look forward to discussing Danish-American co-operation with two central senators. The US will continue to be decisive for Danish and European security. Denmark is an active player in NATO and stands shoulder to shoulder with the US in several of the world’s hotspots,” said Samuelsen.
Taking the fight to Syria
Danish special forces could be involved in fighting in Syrian cities by the end of the year, Metroxpress reports.
The defence minister, Claus Hjort Frederiksen, visited 200-odd Danish troops stationed at Al Asad base in Iraq on Sunday.
“We have to pursue IS as they know no borders,” said Kåre Jakobsen, the commander of the Jægerkorps special forces. He emphasised that the borders in the area are very fluid.
“What divides Iraq from Syria is a line on the map, but in the field, there is nothing keeping them apart. You can’t just stop on one side and imagine that IS will disappear again,” said Jakobsen.
This might be necessary when Danish troops follow Iraqi forces on patrol near al Qaim. The Iraqi border town, which is expected to become IS’s next stronghold in Iraq when Mosul falls, merges into the Syrian town of al Bukamal on the other side of the border.
“If militants from IS flee across the border to Syria, we will have to keep up the pressure and enter the Syrian town,” said Frederiksen.
“We have to ensure that IS fighters don’t become entrenched in certain areas in Syria.”