Greenland PM Kielsen forms minority government to end political crisis

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Greenland Prime Minister Kim Kielsen presented a new minority government on Tuesday, ending a political crisis that started when he lost his majority last month with the withdrawal of a pro-independence party.

FILE PHOTO: Greenland’s Prime Minister Kim Kielsen stands in his office with a giant photograph of a sea eagle in Nuuk, Greenland, June 2, 2016. REUTERS/Alister Doyle/File Photo

Kielsen of the social democrat Siumut party told a press conference in the capital Nuuk that he had agreed with the liberal-conservative party Atassut and the separatist, center-left party Nunatta Qitornai to form a minority government with the support of The Democrats, state broadcaster KNR reported.

A political stalemate on the Arctic island has delayed expansion of major airport projects of strategic interest to both Washington and Beijing and created uncertainty over an ambition to attract foreign investments into its vast hydrocarbon and mineral resources.

Greenland, eager to benefit from growing activity in the Arctic, plans to expand airports in the capital Nuuk, the tourist hub in Ilulissat and at Qaqortoq in southern Greenland to cater for direct flights from Europe and North America.

The Arctic island is a self-ruling part of Denmark, which is concerned that Chinese investment – on the agenda since Greenland’s Prime Minister Kim Kielsen visited Beijing last year – could upset the United States.

Pro-independence party Partii Naleraq on Sept. 10 withdrew from a coalition formed in May over Denmark’s plan to part-fund the upgrade of two airports.

Kielsen’s Siumut, the two other parties in the coalition, Atassut and Nunatta Qitornai, and the supporting Democrats all back a proposed Danish contribution to the airports.

Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Emil Gjerding Nielson, Editing by William Maclean

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