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TROMSO, Norway, January 23. /TASS/. A draft agreement of member-states of the Arctic Council on expansions of cooperation in research offers an instance of constructive collaboration between the regional countries, Vladimir Barbin, the Russian ambassador at large said on Monday at the Arctic Frontiers conference in the Norwegian Arctic city of Tromso.
He said participants in the conference had voiced the hope earlier that the agreement would be signed at a ministerial conference of the Arctic Council in Fairbanks, U.S., in May.
"I think the draft agreement is a bright instance of how fruitfully the Arctic countries can work together if they have a shared vision and understanding of the challenges they’re faced with," Barbin said.
The document drafted by a workgroup of the Arctic Council with the Russian ambassador at the head is destined to ease and facilitate cooperation among researchers from the eight Arctic nations, including exchanges of information, collaboration with fellow-researchers from third countries, the obtaining of travel visas and permits for transportation of research equipment, and enhanced protection of intellectual property.
Once put into effect, the agreement will be the third legally binding document for the member-states of the Arctic Council. In 2011, they signed an agreement on cooperation in rescue efforts in the air and on the sea and in 2013, an agreement on readiness to respond to oil contaminations of seawater in Arctic areas.
Barbin told TASS events like the Arctic Frontiers conference, which brought together more than 1,400 participants this year, made it possible for representatives of Arctic nations and other countries concerned to exchange the opinions and ideas that subsequently laid the groundwork for precisely formulated decisions and document.
He recalled that the ‘Arctic - Territory of Dialogue’ international forum devoted to efficient development of high-latitude areas and international cooperation in the area would take place in Arkhangelsk on March 29 and March 30 and the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Borge Brende, was considering a possibility to attend it.
The Arctic Council was instituted in 1996 in line with the Ottawa Declaration. It is a high-level intergovernmental forum facilitating cooperation in the region, particularly in the sphere of environment conservation.
Its current member-states are Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and Faroe Isles), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the U.S.
The U.S. accepted a two-year term of rotating presidency in the organization in 2015 and Finland is to take it over in May 2017.