[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 25 July, 2005, 15:17 GMT 16:17 UK
Canada island visit angers Danes
A visit by the Canadian defence minister to a barren island in the Arctic has sparked a row with Denmark.

Bill Graham landed on Hans Island, which is claimed by Canada and Denmark, during a tour of Canadian military outposts in the region.

The status of the island - an outcrop barely 100 metres wide between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland - has been disputed for more than 30 years.

The Danish government says it will send a letter of protest to Canada.

The dispute started in 1973 when Denmark and Canada drew a border down the Nares Strait, between Canada's Ellesmere Island and Greenland, a semi-autonomous Danish territory.

The sovereignty of Hans Island was left to be determined later.

Bottle exchange

"We consider Hans Island to be part of Danish territory and will therefore hand over a complaint about the Canadian minister's unannounced visit," head of the department of International Public Law at Denmark's Foreign Ministry, Peter Taksoe-Jensen, told Reuters.

In 1984, a Danish minister, Tom Hoeyem, caused a stir when he visited the island and raised the Danish flag.

Mr Hoeyem also buried a bottle of brandy at the base of the flagpole and left a note saying welcome to Denmark.

The UPI news agency reported that Canadian troops landed on the island a week before Mr Graham's visit, planted a Canadian flag and built an Inuit stone marker.

Reports say Canadian troops leave whiskey at the flagpole on their incursions.

Regions and territories: Greenland
01 Sep 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Greenland
10 Aug 04 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Denmark
06 Aug 04 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific