Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov sent a letter to Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt. In the letter, dated Nov. 8, he expresses concern about the future of the Arctic Council and summons member states to a physical meeting in Russia.
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“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”Lavrov writes in the letter before continuing:
“To be honest, I worry about the future of the Arctic Council as the most important international Arctic forum.”
Russia currently holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council and invites other member states to a physical meeting in the Russian city of Salekhard, located in northwestern Siberia.
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.
On March 3 this year, the council was suspended following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Reject the invitation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the letter on November 14.
For Dagbladet, Secretary of State Eivind Vad Petersson at the Foreign Office says the hope is to take over the Arctic Council when Norway takes over from Russia.
At the same time, the Secretary of State flatly denies that Huitfeldt plans to travel to Russia to attend the meeting.
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