The Arctic Council Foreign Ministers Ended Their Meeting in Finland Without a Joint Statement

Business | May 7, 2019, Tuesday // 22:16|  views

Foreign ministers from the eight Arctic council countries, including Russia and the United States, ended today's meeting in northern Finland without accepting a joint declaration, BTA reported.

"This is an organization where all decisions are based on consensus, decisions must be unanimous," Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who chaired the meeting, told reporters.

,,I do not point and blame anyone. It is clear that climate issues look different from different perspectives and different countries'', he commented.

Soini stressed that instead of the declaration signed at the ministerial meeting ending every two-year cycle under the chairmanship of a country, two documents were adopted this time.

One of these is a joint statement signed by the eight foreign ministers, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeо.

One-page text does not mention climate change, but ministers say they remain committed to "maintaining peace, stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic."

The United States presided over the Arctic Council before Finland, but withdrew from the Paris climate agreement signed in 2015 to reduce emissions.

Asked about the US position, Pompeo told the Helsingin Samoa newspaper that his country is against it when it comes to cutting its emissions of carbon dioxide and starting to compare them with those of China, Russia and many of the European countries, each of which has signed the Paris Agreement.

Speaking at the meeting, Pompeо pointed out that the United States reported the most significant reduction in soot emissions compared to any other state in the Arctic Council.

"We are fulfilling our duties," he said.

The second document is a 10-page statement by Timo Soini, chairman of the meeting, in which he notes that the majority of its participants regard climate change as a fundamental challenge for the Arctic and recognize the urgent need for mitigation and adaptation action.

The ministerial meeting in the city of Rovaniemi (close to the Polar Circle) ends the two-year presidency of Finland.

As President, Finland insisted on enhancing meteorological cooperation and emphasized topics such as education, working together and protecting the environment, including the limitation of soot emissions. It is about ice and snow deposits due to the burning of coal and other fuels that accelerate their melting as the dark surfaces absorb more heat.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and this leads to the rapid disappearance of glaciers and sea ice.
Iceland plans to dedicate its presidency to the Arctic marine environment, improve weather forecasts and map the glaciers there, as well as people living in the area, and strengthen Arctic councils, Icelandic Foreign Minister Gudlaugur Thor Thordarson said.

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Tags: climate issues, artic council, Finland, meeting


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