Danish ex-foreign minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen dies at 80

HELSINKI (AP) — Uffe Elleman-Jensen, who was Denmark’s foreign minister for more than 10 years from the early 1980s and was considered one of the Nordic region’s key politicians in the end phase of the Cold War, has died. He was 80.

The conservative-liberal Venstre party, which Ellemann-Jensen led from 1984-1998, said in a brief statement on Sunday that he died overnight “after a long illness.” The cause of death wasn’t immediately given.

Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said in a statement that Ellemann-Jensen, Denmark’s foreign minister from 1982 until 1993, was “a sharp politician”, a great personality and “a man with great courage.”

“He skilfully represented our country during the Cold War,” Frederiksen said, stressing that Ellemann-Jensen insisted Denmark should remain committed to NATO’s common policies, and he called for maintaining close trans-Atlantic ties between Europe and the United States.

“Now that war is back on the European continent, his voice for a strong, secure and democratic Europe seems clearer than ever,” she added.

Ellemann-Jensen is survived by his wife, Alice Vestergaard, their four children and 10 grandchildren.