MOSCOW, October 31. /TASS/. The statements made by American authorities that the Arctic Council would be able to operate without Russia are groundless, because its decisions are made by a consensus of all member states, says Russian Ambassador-at-Large, Chairman of the Arctic Council’s Senior Officials Committee Nikolay Korchunov.
"It is a rather groundless claim that the Arctic Council will be able to operate without the Russian Federation. First, it should be noted that all of the council’s decisions are made by all member states, under the consensus principle. If any side is against some decision, if it does not support it, then, accordingly, no such decision is made," he said, commenting on a recent remark made by US Department of State Counselor Derek Chollet that the Arctic Council will be able to operate even without Russia.
"Initially, cooperation and interaction are supposed to take place," Korchunov emphasized. "So here, it seems to me, apparently, there is a lack of elaboration by my American colleague of the Arctic Council dossier, primarily in terms of statutory documents."
The diplomat noted that most projects, being implemented in the Arctic region, are being implemented by two or three countries.
"But if we talk about some collective approaches or pan-Arctic decisions, then the participation of all countries in their development is necessary, including Russia," he said.
He noted that the priority of the Russian presidency in the Arctic Council is to ensure responsible management of the Arctic’s sustainable development.
"And sustainable development can be ensured only in the event of coordinated cooperation of all eight states," he continued. "Otherwise, concerns immediately emerge as to what the sustainable development of the region will be, and how effectively decisions will be made regarding the entire Arctic agenda."
Earlier on October 17, US Department of State Counselor Derek Chollet said that most Arctic Council projects can be implemented without Russia’s participation.