There are high expectations for Norway’s takeover of the Arctic Council on the 11th of May. Researchers within the Arctic field believe that Norway is well-equipped for the complex task precisely because of its long-term relationship with Russia, which is locked out of the council despite holding the chairmanship for the past year.
”Our first priority is conserving the Arctic Council as the most important multilateral forum for Arctic issues. The first step to ensure a neat transition of leadership,” says Norwegian MFA Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor) when High North News meets her in Tromsø during the Arctic Frontiers conference.
”You say that the Arctic Council will remain also after Norway takes over the chairmanship. How will Norway implement Russia in the council?”
”We have some contact with Russia on an official level. That has continued also after we severed the political contact. And we will continue to do so also in this situation,” says the MFA.
Huitfeldt says that it is important to maintain some contact with Russia to minimize the risk of misunderstandings and intentional escalation of conflict in the Arctic:
”Russia is and will remain our neighbor. There are high expectations for the Norwegian chairmanship,” says Huitfeldt. Läs artikel