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Finnish president stresses Arctic should be free of geopolitical disputes

According to Sauli Niinisto, the Arctic region should be a territory of cooperation rather than geopolitical confrontation

HELSINKI, March 28. /TASS/. The Arctic region should be a territory of cooperation rather than geopolitical confrontation, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told TASS in the run-up to his visit to Arkhangelsk, a city in the north of European Russia, where he will take part in The Arctic - Territory of Dialogue International Forum.

"I plan to raise three issues at the forum. I want to draw attention, in the presence of a wide audience, to the fact that it is important to keep the Arctic region free from geopolitical tensions. The Arctic is a unique and vulnerable region, and its potential development and preservation require the cooperation of all countries present in it," the president emphasized.

"The second issue I plan to talk about is the threat posed by climate change. This global phenomenon has been confirmed by science, but its influence is most acutely felt in the Arctic right now. It is important for us to take this problem seriously and work together to solve it," he went on to say. Niinisto noted that he sees the fight against climate change "in a very large measure as security policy and climate change as a security issue."

"This phenomenon affects, among other issues, the availability of food, water, rising levels of the world’s oceans and migration matters, in other words, major security problems," the president explained. "Finally, thirdly, I will raise the issue of cooperation in environmental protection. In this regard, the so-called black carbon problem in the Arctic is the most pressing one," he noted, adding that the issue at hand is particles formed during wildfires as well as incomplete combustion of fuel in diesel engines that can intensify the effects of global warming.

The Arctic - Territory of Dialogue Fourth International Forum will be held in Arkhangelsk on March 29-30. It is expected to bring together about 1,500 people from Russia and other countries. TASS is the forum’s general media partner.