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US diplomat says Washington pursues ‘policies that maintain Arctic’s peaceful nature’

May 11, 2017, 18:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

All Council members have expressed a shared goal of keeping the Arctic clean and capable of sustaining the unique biodiversity in the region, US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has noted

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© Stanislav Krasilnikov/TASS

MOSCOW, May 11. /TASS/. US Ambassador to Russia John Tefft has called for maintaining the reduction in tensions in the Arctic on his LiveJournal page prior to his meeting with top diplomats from the Arctic Council’s member countries: Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the US, Finland, and Sweden - in Fairbanks, Alaska.

"Over the past two years, the members of the Council have come together to make great strides in laying the groundwork for sustainable development of the Arctic", the US envoy noted. "The unparalleled level of cooperation in the Council is all the more remarkable considering the geopolitical tensions in other parts of the world."

As he put it, "After extensive negotiation, all eight member countries reached a groundbreaking agreement on scientific cooperation that will be signed at the Arctic Council ministerial meeting on May 11 in Fairbanks, Alaska." "The agreement sets the stage for collaborative research on biodiversity, the atmosphere, ocean resources, human health, and many other areas of interest to Council members as well as other countries with interests in the Arctic," the ambassador said.

"Research is an important component in the development of one of the most significant resources in the Arctic, the hydrocarbons buried beneath the Arctic floor," Tefft highlighted. "All Council members have expressed a shared goal of keeping the Arctic clean and capable of sustaining the unique biodiversity in the region."

"Finally, the United States strives to advance policies that maintain the peaceful nature of the Arctic," the diplomat highlighted. "It is crucial, as we consider the tensions so prevalent in other parts of the world, that each country commit to peaceful activity in the Arctic and avoid actions that can be misunderstood by their neighbors." He noted that the Arctic "has seen a major easing of tensions since the end of the Cold War." "We must all strive to keep it that way," Tefft indicated.

Ahead of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Alaska, the Russian diplomatic mission emphasized, in its turn, that Russia "sees the Arctic as an area of dialogue and cooperation and is inclined to oppose any attempts to create tension and a policy of confrontation in the area." "There are no unsolvable problems, let alone issues that need military solutions, in the area in question," the foreign ministry stated.

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