28 April 200913:10

Response by MFA Spokesman Andrei Nesterenko to a Media Question Relating to Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov’s Participation in a Session of the Arctic Council

678-28-04-2009

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Question:  The sixth session of the Arctic Council is being held in the Norwegian city of Tromso, which Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov attends. What issues are planned to be considered during this event?

Answer:  I would like to recall that the Council, set up in 1996 and incorporating Russia, the US, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Sweden and Finland, holds ministerial meetings twice a year. They consider the most important issues relating to the activities of the Council, which deals with sustainable Arctic development and environment preservation problems, approve the results of the fulfilled projects of the Council and of its six thematic working groups and adopt decisions on the start of work in new areas. Also, a change of presiding state occurs in accordance with the principle of rotation.

The upcoming session will have special significance in conditions of a rapidly evolving Arctic situation owing to climate change and its consequences, greater international cooperation in the Arctic, and a sharp increase in attention to it in the world.

The Arctic sector occupies an important place among Russian foreign policy priorities even because of the role of Arctic regions in the life of the country and the leading positions that Russia has in the Arctic. The Foundations of the State Policy of the Russian Federation in the Arctic to 2020 and beyond, as approved by the President of Russia in September 2008, determine the preservation of the Arctic as a zone of peace and cooperation as one of the chief national interests of Russia.

Moscow is gratified by the development of international cooperation in the Arctic and supports the further strengthening of key regional multilateral intergovernmental organizations, the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council.

We expect approval at the upcoming session of the Russian initiatives earlier put forward concerning the establishment of a system of man-made disaster prevention and of search and rescue in the Arctic. Sergey Lavrov is also planning to submit the proposals of Russia on a number of new concrete projects of the Council.

April 28, 2009

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