Russian Foreign Minister Sergej Lavrov expresses concern in a letter he sent to Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt about documents Dagbladet saw.
“We are concerned about the actions of other countries in the Arctic that undermine the long-standing international cooperation that exists in the Arctic, both within the Arctic Council and in other organizations that have been established in the initiative of the Council or with the support of the Council”, writes Lavrov.
Then the Russian Foreign Minister, considered a close and loyal supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin, makes a confession.
“To be honest, I worry about the future of the Arctic Council as the most important international Arctic forum.”
The letter is dated November 8 and was received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on November 14.
Guest in Russia
At present, Russia holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, and to close the period, Lavrov invites to a ministerial meeting in the Russian city of Salekhard, located in northwestern Siberia.
Russia wants foreign ministers to be physically present at the meeting as much as possible.
“We suggest that a meaningful joint statement be drafted. In this regard, I believe it will be crucial that such a joint statement reflect how the Arctic States and the permanent members of the Arctic Council commit to maintain peace, stability, low political and military tension and constructive cooperation in the region,” Lavrov wrote in the letter.
The Arctic Council is made up of the eight Arctic states of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States, as well as representatives of Arctic indigenous peoples in those countries. The council’s mandate is to contribute to sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
Norwegian cold shoulder
State Secretary Eivind Vad Petersson at the Foreign Office told Dagbladet the council had been put on hiatus, but Norway hopes to revive it when it now takes over the presidency.
– Arctic Council meetings were halted on March 3 as a necessary response to Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine. The government wants to maintain the Arctic Council. International cooperation in the Arctic is necessary to be able to deal with, for example, climate change and natural diversity.
– We are working to find workable solutions for formal cooperation in the Arctic Council when Norway took over leadership from Russia.
Briefly, the Secretary of State adds the following:
– The Minister of Foreign Affairs does not plan to participate in Salekhard.
Earlier, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plans in the Arctic. The warning was featured in an article in the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail.
Among other things, Stoltenberg wrote that Russia and Putin pledged to protect Arctic waters “with all available means,” and revealed their own plans to develop new missile boats to conduct military operations. in the arctic.
“Russia’s ability to cut off Allied reinforcements across the North Atlantic is a strategic challenge for NATO,” Stoltenberg wrote.
“Earlier this year, Beijing and Moscow pledged to strengthen cooperation in the Arctic, as part of a deeper strategic partnership that challenges our values and interests.”
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