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Expert: Arctic Council must have monopoly to manage macroregion

In May, Russia will take over chairing of the Arctic Council from Iceland

MOSCOW, May 13. /TASS/. The Arctic Council in the framework of the international law must have the monopoly to manage all territories in the Arctic zone, a member of the Russian International Affairs Council, Head of the International Law Department at the Foreign Ministry’s MGIMO University Alexander Vylegzhanin said on Wednesday.

"The Arctic Council is in the center [of management], but <…> the Council today from the perspective of the international law does not have the monopoly for this management," he said during an online conference, devoted to Russia’s chairing role in the Arctic Council. "We know other mechanisms: <…> intergovernmental forms, say, without Russia’s participation works the Nordic Council of Ministers, without participation of Russia and Canada works the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC)."

"There is proof that the monopoly of management does not exist, though the threat of weaker Arctic Council, the threat of fragmented <…> management of the Arctic Ocean and Arctic seas exist realistically, and, surely, it is in the interests of all the Arctic states, not only of Russia, to avoid those threats," he said.

Russia’s focus on people, living in the Arctic zone, will result in better economic wellbeing of the population, he continued.

The expert pointed to the fact that north of the Arctic Circle in Russia lives the majority of low-numbered indigenous peoples.

Earlier, Nikolay Korchunov, Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador-At-Large and Russia’s Senior Official in the Arctic Council, said Russia and the United States are maintaining constructive cooperation within the Arctic Council. "We will cooperate closely with our American counterparts on an entire range of issues, including the problem of permafrost degradation, the problem of gas hydrates and other aspects related to the climate change," the diplomat said. "The US has returned to the Paris Agreement, that all other Arctic Council member states are a part of, which facilitated a convergence of positions on climate issues. And the climate changes occurring in the Arctic are very significant to Russia from the viewpoint of consequences and risks that they entail."

In May, Russia will take over chairing of the Arctic Council from Iceland. The Council’s members are Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the US, Finland and Sweden. Twelve non-Arctic countries, including the UK, Germany, India, China and France, have the status of observers.