COPENHAGEN, April 24. /TASS/. Russia wants the Arctic region to remain a "peaceful story of success" which it is now, Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said in an interview with the Jyllands-Posten newspaper on Friday.
In comments to the plans of Russian Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy to attend the Arctic Council meeting in Canada’s Iqaluit, he said there was the risk that the talks would focus on Ukraine should Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrive there.
"I prefer to consider the decision to send Natural Resources Minister Sergey Donskoy [to Iqaluit] as a sign that Russia does not want the Ukrainian issue to influence the agenda [of Arctic Council’s meeting]," the minister said.
The Danish foreign minister earlier told the country’s Ritzaus bureau news agency he believed that "the Russian decision not to fully refuse to attend the ministerial meeting was an expression of will for a dialogue."
The Arctic Council’s meeting is opening in Canada on Friday. The sides plan to adopt a ministerial declaration, a framework document on preventing oil spill and a framework program for actions in the sphere of reducing the levels of black carbon and methane. The discussion will also focus on the developed principles and assessments of climate change, the protection of biodiversity and the fight against the pollution in the Arctic.
The Arctic Council, a high-level intergovernmental forum, was established in 1996 by eight Arctic states - Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States, Finland and Sweden.
A total of 20 international and non-governmental organizations and 12 countries have an observer status in the Arctic Council - the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, China, India, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.