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Russia finds freezing of conferences of Arctic nations’ chiefs of staff regrettable

May 12, 2017, 2:15 UTC+3 FAIRBANKS

In the opinion of the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, these meetings were useful for building trust and mutual understanding

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska. May 12. /TASS/. Russia believes the freezing of conferences of the Chiefs of Staff of the Arctic countries’ Armed Forces is a regrettable fact, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday at a ministerial conference of the Arctic Council.

"These meetings were very useful from the point of view of strengthening the trust-building measures but unfortunately they remain frozen for the fourth year in a row - and not at Russia’s initiative," he said.

"At yesterday’s (Wednesday, May 10) dinner for the foreign ministers, some of my counterparts raised the issues of security in the Arctic," Lavrov said. "I’d like to recall in this connection our countries had the practice of annual meetings of the Chiefs of Staff of Arctic countries before 2013."

The ministerial conference of the Arctic Council that is taking place in Fairbanks has brought together the foreign ministers of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden , and the U.S., as well as delegates of the indigenous ethnic groups of the Far North.

The Arctic Council was set up in 1996 to coordinate actions of the regional countries in the sphere of sustainable development in the Arctic region. It does not supervise military or regional security issues.

The Arctic Council is a high-level intergovernmental forum that assists collaboration in the vast area, especially in the spheres related to environment.

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