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It has been described by some as a “pseudo-confrontation”, and by others as a diplomatic afterthought. Now, nevertheless, the so-called “whiskey conflict”, which was by no means actually a battle, has lastly been resolved with the formal division of a tiny, barren Arctic island between Canada and Denmark.
Situated within the Kennedy Channel of Nares Strait, between the northwestern coast of the semi-autonomous Danish territory of Greenland and the Canadian island of Ellesmere, the half-square-mile, uninhabited Hans Island has no mineral assets or a lot else of curiosity except you are a visiting seabird.
Formed like a muffin and surrounded by cliffs, it was for hundreds of years an Inuit searching floor. Nonetheless, it has been crucially on the heart of a long-running border dispute between Canada and Denmark, by way of Greenland’s self-government, with Copenhagen claiming that geological proof factors to Hans Island being a part of Greenland, a declare rejected. for Ottawa.
Canada and Denmark agreed in 1973 to create a border throughout the Nares Strait, halfway between Greenland and Canada. However they could not agree on which nation would have sovereignty over Hans Island, which is about 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) south of the North Pole. Ultimately, they determined to settle the possession problem later.
That prompted a largely amiable protection between the 2 sides, together with adverts posted on Google selling their claims and flag-raising methods.
The “whiskey conflict” reference got here after Denmark’s Minister for Greenland Affairs raised a Danish flag on the island in 1984, buried a bottle of Danish liquor on the base of the flagpole, and left a word that learn: “Welcome to the Danish island.”
The Canadians then planted their very own flag and left behind a bottle of Canadian brandy. Since then, international locations have taken turns hoisting their flags and leaving bottles of varied liquors in tit-for-tat actions.
In 2002, Nana Flensburg was a part of a Danish navy workforce that stood on the cliff to carry out a flag-raising ceremony. The newspaper Politiken quoted her on Tuesday as saying in her diary that “among the many stones within the burial mounds there have been many bottles, glasses, and so forth. with paperwork that reported earlier visits to the island.”
On the top of the rivalry, each side purchased Google adverts to make their declare after Denmark stated it could ship a letter protesting a 2005 go to by then Canadian Protection Minister Invoice Graham.
Graham stated that Canada had at all times owned the island, prompting Denmark to answer, “Hans Island is our island.” Some Canadians, in flip, have proposed boycotting Danish pastries, echoing the best way some People rejected “potato chips” when France refused to affix coalition forces in Iraq.
Now the friction is coming to an finish with the 2 international locations agreeing to divide the small island between them beneath a deal to be signed afterward Tuesday.
“It sends a transparent sign that it’s attainable to resolve border disputes … in a practical and peaceable method, the place all events win,” Danish Overseas Minister Jeppe Kofod stated. He stated it was “an essential signal now that there’s a lot of conflict and unrest on this planet.”
The settlement will enter into power as soon as the inner procedures of the 2 international locations have been accomplished. In Denmark, the parliament should give its approval to the settlement.
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