TROMSO (Norway), January 22. /TASS/. The Arctic faces no military challenges at the moment, and the region will never again see them, a senior Russian diplomat taking part in the international conference Arctic Frontiers in Tromso, Norway, told TASS on Monday.
"Our main message at this conference is that cooperation must be the focal word when we speak about the Arctic region. International cooperation on the basis of consensus, balanced decisions basing on modern scientific data," said Igor Neverov, the director of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Second European Department,
"We are strongly convinced that the Arctic does not face and will never again face any challenges of military nature that would necessitate any military solutions," the diplomat told TASS. "It is not Cold War times when the Arctic region was indeed a region of confrontation," he said.
Addressing the conference earlier, Estonia’s former Foreign Minister Urmas Paet accused Russia of attempts to militarize the Arctic. He also expressed concerns over Russia’s submitting an application to the UN to expand its Arctic shelf border.
Replying him, Neverov reminded the audience that Russia’s actions in the Arctic are absolutely transparent, are in line with the international law and Russia’s commitments. He said Russia is actively cooperating with other Arctic states in the Arctic Council and sees eye to eye on the region’s future with the other countries, including the US.
"A very interesting discussion is underway in Tromso, and Russia is named among the biggest and most important players in the Arctic region. I believe our Estonian neighbors have somewhat dramatized the situation, that is why I would like to once again emphasize that we are among the most active participants in all international Arctic projects, including scientific cooperation in the Arctic," he went on to say.
"Thus, Russia has already carried out all internal procedures after the signing of an agreement on contribution to scientific cooperation in the Arctic in Fairbanks, and it is ready to put it into effect," Neverov told TASS.