Finland takes over chairmanship of Arctic Council

Chairmanship in the Arctic Council, whose members include Denmark, Iceland, Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States, Finland, and Sweden, has passed from Washington to Helsinki, Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that this forum has become an important platform for discussing pressing problems in the region over the 20 years of its existence.

“The United States had been privileged to lead the Arctic Council at a time when the Arctic Region has been facing unprecedented change and challenges. I am grateful for the level of cooperation that the nations and the peoples of the Arctic have demonstrated as they continue to address these challenges”, Tillerson said during an Arctic Council Ministerial meeting in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Upon conclusion of the meeting, Tillerson officially handed over chairmanship in the Council to the Finnish minister of foreign affairs, TASS reports.

Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov said in an earlier address that Moscow is performing and will continue to perform substantive work to ensure the Arctic develops as a territory of peace, stability and cooperation.

“There is no potential for any conflict here”, he stressed.