Clinton praises Denmark after meeting FM

Søvndal admits that the issue of American drone strikes on terrorists and the continued detention of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were not discussed in his short meeting with Clinton

Denmark reinforced its relationship with the US yesterday when the foreign minister, Villy Søndal, met with the secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, during a short meeting in Washington.

Emerging from the meeting, Søvndal may have been a little nervious when he accidentally referred to his host country as the ‘EU’.

“Denmark’s relationship to the EU [sic] is of great importance for the both of us,” Søvndal said. “It’s very important for us to have a friendly and honest dialogue between two closely allied countries. We highly value the multilateral approach that you have taken on global issues in many areas. I think that, in these years, it’s important to build relationships which promote human rights.”

Clinton responded by saying that the friendship between the two countries went back more than 200 years and that they are bound by a fundamental pursuit in democracy and human rights.

“I expressed my admiration for everything the Danish people have done to support the Afghan people. Danish troops have been deployed across the country and are fighting shoulder to shoulder with American soldiers. Denmark has suffered terrible losses,” Clinton said, expressing her gratitude that the world can count on Danish leadership especially in regard to the financing of Afghan troops after the withdrawal of troops in 2014.

On the question of whether Denmark’s relationship would be affected due to having a socialist foreign minister, who has often been critical of the US, Clinton answered that it in no way affects the strength of the Danish-American relationship.

“I cannot recognise the gentleman you just described. My meeting with the minister has been friendly and constructive,” Clinton said, underlining that the meeting established a strong foundation that the two  foreign policy heads would work on.

“It’s always important to realise that our countries’ interests and relationship has a greater historical depth than individuals. But I look forward to working together with the minister in a range of areas that affect us both.”

Before the meeting, Søvndal said that he would consider bringing up the subject of American drone attacks on suspected terrorists, though after meeting Søvndal admitted that neither the drone attacks nor Guantanamo detainees, another area in which Søvndal has been cricitical of the US, were mentioned.

Among the subjects that were raised was the economic crisis, Denmark’s takeover of the EU presidency, the Arctic and the Arab Spring. Søvndal did not rule out that Denmark would contribute military hardware if a situation like Libya arose again.