Remarks With Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Copenhagen, Denmark
June 16, 2016

PRIME MINISTER RASMUSSEN: Once again, welcome. It’s a real pleasure to welcome Secretary Kerry in Denmark today. First of all, I want to thank you for a very productive and at the same time joyful Nordic-U.S. summit in Washington most recently. It was fun and it was good and it proved that we have very strong connections and ties among our countries.

Most sadly, I have just received the news about the death of a British member of parliament, Jo Cox. My thoughts are with her family, her friends, and the British people. It was a true shock to me that a British politician was killed during the campaign.

And let me also express my sincere condolences to the American people for the horrific attack in Orlando last week. Tolerance and love was met with cruelty and violence, contrary our shared values. Equal rights are cornerstones in our societies. The right to be who you are; the right to love the one you love, whether it’s a man or a woman – these are fundamental principles that cannot be suppressed.

So Denmark stands shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in your grief, as we do in all areas, which was confirmed at the U.S.-Nordic summit most recently. The U.S. and Denmark have a long history of working closely together in taking international responsibility when it comes to security, climate change, human rights, free trade, and tackling the migration challenge. We are united and determined in the fight against ISIL.

This is also why Denmark has stepped up our civilian and military effort to counter ISIL. Just yesterday, the Danish F-16s were redeployed to the region and Danish soldiers continue to train Iraqi forces, enable them to take up their fight against ISIL.

At our meeting today we will also have a chance to discuss the upcoming NATO summit in Warsaw. NATO remains the cornerstone of both Danish and transatlantic security, and Denmark, I can assure you, will continue to deliver strong contributions to the operations, exercises, and NATO capabilities.

I think this summit in July is important because we’re facing a totally new security situation in this part of the world, and we must respond to the challenges we face. And we must demonstrate solidarity; unity in NATO’s approach to Russia will be one of the strongest signals I think we can send from Warsaw.

We also committed to finding common solutions to global challenges such as the current migration challenge and the climate change. Climate change in the Arctic is happening extremely fast and fundamentally changes living conditions in the region. And I’m therefore pleased that you tomorrow will have an opportunity once again to travel to Greenland. I went there most recently with President Donald Tusk from the European Union. And this is really a place on Earth where you can witness the dramatic and very visible impact of climate change.

So by these words, Secretary Kerry, I will welcome you to Denmark. I hope you will enjoy your stay here in Tivoli this evening and Greenland tomorrow. Welcome.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you. Mr. Prime Minister, it’s an enormous pleasure for me to be here, to be back here. And I thank you for your welcome and for many other things, which I’ll mention in a minute. But let me begin by saying a profound thank you to you for your condolences for the United States.

And I join you in expressing my deep sorrow that a young parliamentarian, who obviously was a young woman of enormous talent, has been killed in the conduct of her duties with her constituency. It is an assault on everybody who cares about and has faith in democracy. And our thoughts are profoundly with the family – her husband, her children – and with all of the British people, who I know feel the loss profoundly.

In many ways, both of these events just underscore the challenge that we face in governance today. And I want to thank Denmark. I came here particularly as a friend. The United States and Denmark have an extraordinarily strong relationship. We affirmed that in the Nordic Summit that you mentioned. I thank you for your lightening the mood at the dinner with a very funny toast. I know the President offered to have you come back to the Correspondent’s Dinner. But you – all of you, the – each of the prime ministers, heads of states who came, reaffirmed the extraordinary partnership that we have.

And I want to just say to all of the people of Denmark how grateful the United States is to have a country like Denmark, which accepts responsibility with energy and with vision. And you’ve committed to help in Afghanistan; you’re helping in a huge way in Iraq. You are a deeply committed member of the coalition against ISIL. We are making a difference. We will defeat ISIL/Daesh. There’s no question in my mind. We’re on the right trajectory.

And we have other huge challenges that we work on together, not the least of which is climate and what is represented in Greenland. So I very much look forward to going back there tomorrow. I just came from Svalbard, where we – where I learned a great deal from the scientists there that adds to the urgency that we are all feeling to get a national response from every nation on Earth to move away from the dependency on particularly coal but fossil fuels and move to new and clean, sustainable energy. And what I saw yesterday and what I know I will see tomorrow just underscores how urgent it is for us to do this.

I also want to thank you for your embrace of the vision for our economies. Your support for the TTIP – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – is critical, we believe, to making sure that the economic challenges we face result in a race to the top, not a race to the bottom. And to have 40 percent of the global GDP in one agreement is a way of raising everybody’s standards and opening up opportunity for everybody. So you’ve seen this, you’ve embraced it, and we’re very grateful to you.

So I thank you for a chance to visit. I’m sorry it’s so brief. It’s ridiculously brief, but the nature of our schedules today is itself a challenge. But I’m very happy to be here. And thank you very, very much for Denmark’s remarkable partnership in so many ways – Ukraine – the list is long. I won’t list them all, but we’re working together and that’s what we want to be doing.