Denmark to bolster US military ties

Denmark to bolster US military ties

by AFP Staff Writers

Copenhagen (AFP) Dec 19, 2023

Denmark on Tuesday announced it had agreed to enhance its military cooperation with the United States, opening up better access for US troops to Danish military bases.

The agreement between the two NATO allies followed similar deals recently struck between the US and Nordic neighbours Sweden and Finland.

“We are now strengthening our bilateral defence cooperation, and we do not want to hide the fact that the agreement with the US also marks a breakthrough in Danish defence policy, as it involves US soldiers and US material on Danish soil,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told a press conference.

The Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) will allow for US personnel and materials to be stationed at “specific Danish military installations for both short and long term,” the Danish Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

Specifically, the DCA will grant the US access to three Danish air bases in Karup, Skrydstrup and Aalborg, according to the ministry, but the agreement did not extend to the Danish autonomous territories of Greenland and the Faroe Islands.

Danish Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen told a press conference that the agreement would initially last 10 years, and could then be revoked by either party with one year’s notice.

Lund Poulsen also stressed that Denmark’s policy to not allow nuclear weapons to be stationed in the country remained unchanged.

Last week, Finland announced that a deal had been agreed to allow the US access to 15 Finnish military bases, which was then signed in Washington on Monday.

In early December, Sweden and the US signed a pact paving the way for “US forces to operate in Sweden, including the legal status of US military personnel, access to deployment areas (and) prepositioning of military materiel,” according to a Pentagon statement.

Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine spooked long-neutral Finland and Sweden, and both nations applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Finland acceded to the defence alliance in April, while Sweden’s application has stalled, awaiting approval from treaty members Turkey and Hungary — making it the lone Nordic country currently outside the alliance.

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Becki Menjivar