Remarks With Danish Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
March 9, 2016

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody. It’s a great pleasure for me to welcome my friend Kristian Jensen, the foreign minister of Denmark, here. And Denmark is a country that really, as we say in America, hits way above its weight, bats a very high average. It’s a NATO partner, but also a partner beyond NATO in so many different ways. And I want to thank Prime Minister Rasmussen for his decision and the government’s decision to move forward with respect to additional assistance in the fight against Daesh. Here is a place where Denmark is really making a difference – the decision to send F-16s last year, to add now more effort to that, which required discussions within the parliament. And we want to express our gratitude and our respect for the willing acceptance of responsibility to be part of this effort.

In addition to that, Denmark contributed, pledged at the London conference for Syria 100 million euro, which is a very, very significant amount, adding to the overall effort to deal with this crisis.

And just a quick word, if I may. I want our friends in Europe to understand that we in America are not sitting here believing that we are somehow immune to the impacts of what is happening in Europe today. We understand how deep this crisis runs with respect to the flow of migrants, the possibilities of terror, and we already know our friends have been hit in Europe. So we have a common mission here, which we need to engage in together robustly, to take on Daesh and to end its delivery of terror to so many different communities and so many different people.

We are making significant gains in that fight every day now – in territory taken back from them in Iraq, in areas that they are being taken on in Syria, the border being shut, different initiatives that we are engaged in. And Denmark is front and center in that fight and we’re very, very grateful for that.

So we have other things to talk about today, obviously. The – beyond the security challenge, there are economic challenges and there’s also the larger question that we all need to deal with of how Europe is going to respond to the challenge of the initiative in Great Britain and where we’re heading in terms of the unity. We believe in a strong and unified Europe, and Great Britain has been an important part of that.

So there’s much to talk about, including Ukraine and our continued commitment to the full application of the Minsk agreement and to the continued protection of the sovereignty and integrity of Ukraine as an independent nation without interference from other countries.

So I welcome Kristian here. I can tell you that in our meetings with NATO, with the EU, his voice is loud and clear. Denmark’s voice is always heard. And we are very, very appreciative for the friendship and the relationship. Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER JENSEN: Thank you very much and thank you for receiving us here, John. It’s a great honor to be here. I’d like to thank you for the warm welcome, but most of all, thank you for the friendship and the partnership that the United States and Denmark has in so many ways. We decided, as you mentioned, last Friday to step up our efforts in the fight against Daesh, to put back our F-16s, to put in our special operation force both in Iraq as well as in Syria, because we know that the fight against Daesh is going to be hard and we need to fight them where they are.

We also need to work together into securing the areas where Daesh has been pulled back so that people can return to their homes safe and secure so that we can create a society where Iraq and Syria again can be good and sovereign countries.

I’m very much looking forward to the discussion about Ukraine. I welcome all that the United States are doing to help Ukraine, and Denmark has been one of the leading European countries in order to form a common policy from the EU towards Ukraine. And we need to help them to overcome the last obstacles so they can fulfill their part of the Minsk agreement and put pressure on Russia to fulfill their part.

And last but not least, I hope that we can touch upon the TTIP, the very important negotiations to create more growth and more jobs both in the U.S. and Europe. So it’s a busy schedule and it’s great to be among friends.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, my friend.


QUESTION: Secretary Kerry, how much does the Danish impact mean?

SECRETARY KERRY: It’s very, very significant, very real contribution. These are not just words we’re spouting today. This is a genuine gratitude for a very real difference. Thank you.