Russian Foreign Ministry does not rule out Russia’s withdrawal from Arctic Council
Russia may leave the Arctic Council if its activities fail to contribute to the pursuit of the country’s national interests, said Nikolai Korchunov, Russian Foreign Ministry Ambassador at Large for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Senior Arctic Official at the Arctic Council.
“It is essential that we always have diversity of choice and maximum options in terms of ways to act, not depending on a single scheme. Anything is possible – particularly in the event that the Arctic Council’s work fails to facilitate the implementation of our national interests in the Arctic region and the pursuit of the goals and objectives envisaged in the Strategy for Developing the Russian Arctic Zone until 2035. Accordingly, if the format proves to be useless and non-beneficial, it will make no sense to be part of it. But we will wait and see," Korchunov said.
He also noted that Norway, which took over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, has stated it is willing to continue the council’s work and pursue the path of normalization.
“Prospects for further cooperation in the Arctic Council seem rather vague as it is unclear whether Norway will succeed in establishing the kind of interaction that would promote the constructive character of the council,” the diplomat noted.
Previously, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that the Arctic Council’s future would depend on the possibility of further civilized dialogue in the interests of preserving the Arctic as a region of peace, stability and cooperation.
“We believe that further effective work and the future of the Arctic Council in general will depend on whether we can collectively find possibilities to continue a civilized dialogue in the interests of preserving the Arctic as a territory of peace, stability and constructive cooperation. These are the objectives set forth in the 2021 Ministerial Declaration and the Strategic Plan of the Arctic Council until 2030,” Mr. Lavrov said in his video address to the participants in the 13th session of the Arctic Council.
He emphasized that the Arctic region remains a priority for Russia, adding that during its chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2021-2023, the country invariably acted in line with the common interest of ensuring the sustainable and safe development of the entire Arctic region and the wellbeing of its residents.