On the sidelines of the event, US Secretary of State Blinken holds a series of bilateral meetings.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will lead the US delegation to the 12th Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting, which will be held from May 19 to 20 in Reykjavik, Iceland. In addition to the United States, seven other Arctic states and six permanent members of the Council will attend the meeting.
As Blinken said ahead of the meeting, he intends to “reaffirm America’s commitment to achieving climate goals and encourage other Arctic states to do so.”
The event is held every two years to prevent conflicts in the region and strengthen cooperation on issues such as overcoming the climate crisis.
On the sidelines of the event, the Secretary of State holds a series of bilateral meetings with representatives of other countries and organizations.
The Arctic Council, established in 1996, consists of eight States with northern territories – the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and the Russian Federation – as well as six permanent members: the Aleutian International Association, the Arctic Athabaskan Council, the International Kuchin Council, the Circumpolar Inuit Council, the Sami Union and the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia and the Far East.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the temporarily presiding country heads the Arctic Council every two years. After the current ministerial meeting, Russia will take over the chairmanship from Iceland.
This year, delegates will focus on finalizing the initiatives taken during Iceland’s presidency in four priority areas: the Arctic marine environment, climate, and green energy solutions, Arctic people and communities, and strengthening the Arctic Council.
As noted in the State Department press release, the United States appreciates the close international cooperation within the Council that helps preserve peace in the region, while strengthening environmental protection, addressing the causes and consequences of the climate crisis, promoting sustainable economic development, encouraging scientific research, and supporting indigenous peoples throughout the Arctic.
On Wednesday morning, Secretary of State Blinken held a bilateral meeting with Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau in the Icelandic capital. Blinken noted that the United States and Canada are united in their desire to preserve the Arctic region “as a place for peaceful cooperation and positive achievements.” Among the areas of international cooperation in the far North, the US Secretary of State pointed out the further development of the region with an emphasis on climate conservation, the development of science, and the protection of living conditions for the indigenous peoples of the Arctic. In response, Minister Marc Garneau agreed that the central element of international cooperation in the Arctic should be the careful development of the polar region, which will not lead to a violation of its ecological balance in the future.