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US stance hinders adoption of Arctic Council’s strategy, says Lavrov

The Russian foreign minister expressed hope that the "team spirit will prevail"

ST. PETERSBURG, April 9. /TASS/. The United States’ position on a number of provisions of the Arctic Council’s strategy makes it difficult for member states to agree on the document, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, addressing the Fifth International Arctic Forum dubbed the ‘Arctic: Territory of Dialogue’ on Tuesday.

"In the coming month, we will make preparations for an Arctic Council Foreign Ministers' meeting, which will take place in the Finnish city of Rovaniemi," he said. "Work is underway on very important documents, including the 2025 Arctic Strategy. I hope it will reflect everything we are discussing today," the Russian top diplomat added.

Lavrov pointed out that the consultations process was not an easy one. "Our American colleagues strongly oppose even mentioning the Paris Climate Agreement in the strategy, as well as the United Nations 2030 sustainable development goals. All others are confident that the strategy will be watered down if we fail to do that. So serious work lies ahead," he said.

"I hope that team spirit will prevail," the Russian foreign minister concluded.

The Arctic Council was established in 1996 to promote cooperation between the Arctic countries, particularly in the environment protection area. Member states include Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

Finland is chairing the Arctic Council in 2017-2019, hosting events on Arctic issues at various levels. Niinisto earlier put forward an initiative to arrange an Arctic summit during Finland’s chairmanship.

The Fifth International Arctic Forum, organized by the Roscongress Foundation, is taking place in Russia’s St. Petersburg on April 9-10. This year, the event’s main theme is ‘The Arctic. An Ocean of Opportunities’. TASS is the general information partner and the official photohost agency of the event.