18:43 GMT01 December 2020
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    Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen will meet with US President Donald Trump during the visit to Washington, DC on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The two leaders are expected to discuss expanding bilateral economic ties, the fight against Daesh (outlawed in Russia) as well as enhancing defense and security cooperation between the United States and Denmark, according to the White House.

    "The Prime Minister’s visit will occur on the eve of the 100th anniversary of Denmark formally ceding the US Virgin Islands to the United States," White House spokesman Sean Spicer said announcing Rasmussen’s trip.

    Rasmussen has served as Prime Minister of Denmark since June 2015 and was previously Prime Minister from 2009-2011.

    Although US Senator Ted Cruz once claimed Trump, then his rival for the Republican presidential nomination, would "nuke Denmark," the meeting between the two leaders is expected to be friendly.


    Denmark has played a significant role in Operation Inherent Resolve, the US-led coalition against Daesh.

    The country participated in airstrikes against Daesh targets in Iraq and conducts air surveillance in Iraq and Syria.

    Additionally, Denmark contributed troops for demining efforts, to train Iraqi and Kurdish forces and for stabilization activities in Iraq and Syria. Around 120 troops are stationed at the Al-Asad air base near Baghdad.

    Denmark further supports UN-mediated talks aimed at achieving a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

    Denmark has lost seven soldiers in the fight to oust Daesh from Iraq.

    In January, Parliament approved a measure allowing Danish troops deployed to Iraq to cross the border into Syria to fight Daesh militants in that country.

    "The government has…decided, on the basis of specific requests from the coalition, to expand the missions of the special operations troops in Iraq and Syria," Foreign Minister Anders Samuelsen said when the decision was announced.

    Since February, the Danish warship Peter Willemoes has sailed alongside US aircraft carriers deployed as part of Operation Inherent Resolve.


    Rasmussen’s office confirmed the US visit last week and said the prime minister looked forward to meeting Trump.

    "The United States has for decades been a guarantee for peace, freedom and security in our part of the world. Different presidents have all valued our friendship and cooperation across the Atlantic highly. This meeting confirms that Denmark and the United States remain close allies," Rasmussen said.

    Rasmussen explained that good relations with Washington are important because of the strong economic ties between the two nations.

    The value of Danish exports to the United States was about $17.4 billion last year.

    Media reports suggested Trump and Rasmussen could discuss Trump's recent executive order on domestic energy production.

    Following Trump's election, the Danish-American Business Forum wrote a three-page fact sheet for its member companies titled "FAQ: Implications of a New US President."

    Along with Russia, Canada, Finland, Iceland and Norway, both nations are members of the Arctic Council.

    Denmark is also a member of NATO and spends about 1.2 percent of its GDP on defense spending.

    Rasmussen called Trump a week after the November 8 election. In addition to congratulating the president-elect, the prime minister told Trump that the Danish government was preparing to increase spending on defense and national security.


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