Military official calls end to operations on Hans Island, signaling the end of a twenty-year old diplomatic dispute between Denmark and Canada.
High-ranking army general, Walter Natynczyk, has announced a change of tact regarding the long-disputed, uninhabited Hans Island, backing away from military activity and at the same time putting an end to escalating tension between Canada and Denmark.
The information, which came to light thanks to new access to information legislation, reveals that the former chief of the defence staff issued a directive as recently as September 2012, ordering that the Canadian Forces’ influence in the region should be “minimized with the exception of search and rescue or emergency operations”.
Lying between the coast of Greenland and Canada’s Ellesmere Island, the 1.3 km² Hans Island has been subject to conflicting sovereignty claims since the so-called “battle of the bottles” in the 1980s, where territory was marked out using bottles of Canadian Club whisky and Scandinavian Akvavit.
Tension escalated at the turn of the century, however, with the arrival of Danish soldiers on the island. Canadian troops soon followed suit in 2005, erecting a 12-foot flagpole in a bold statement of intent, before a joint statement was issued by representatives of Denmark’s and Canada’s government, promising a “low-key and restrained” resolution to the sovereignty of Hans Island.
Canada’s withdrawal from the area certainly seems to support this sentiment, and will hopefully lead to a peaceful resolution of this ongoing spat. Speculation suggests that a deal is in the making which could ultimately see the island divided equally between the two lands. As soon as more information emerges, Private Island News will be on hand to tell you more.
Read more: Canada.com http://o.canada.com/2013/06/07/261064/