The Biden administration is leading a campaign against Russian attempts to assert authority over Arctic shipping.
Also, to reintroduce a military dimension to the discussion over international activity in the area. As Russia assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council on Thursday, the US rallied other members to oppose. It rallied to resist Moscow’s plans to set maritime rules in the Northern sea route, from Norway to Alaska.
Moreover, it desires high-level military talks within the eight-nation bloc. Those talks were suspended over Russia’s actions in Ukraine in 2014.
The effort reflects growing concerns in Washington and some NATO allies about a Russian military and commercial activity surge. That too in a region that is rapidly opening up due to the effects of climate change. At the same time, Russia has expressed a similar concerns but against NATO’s motives.
The meeting of the Arctic Council foreign ministers happened in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland. Antony Blinken, the US secretary of States, said the group should focus on peaceful cooperation on environmental issues. Also, on the well being of indigenous people in the region and the maritime safety.
Blinken stressed the importance of upholding governance and the rule of law. Also, to ensure that the Arctic remains the region free of conflict where countries act responsibly. Mr Blinken had previously questioned the legality of the maritime rules proposed by the Russians. Additionally, had expressed deep reservations about Russian military activities in the far North.
Peace demands from other nations
Several other foreign ministers, including those from Canada, Finland, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, echoed Blinken’s call to keep the Arctic peaceful. Also, free of conflict under the authority of the international, rather than that of individual countries. Moreover, representatives of inherent Arctic populations asked that their voices be heard.
Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister who had earlier this week, dismissed the US criticism. As the “Arctic is our territory, and our land” questioned NATO’s motives in deploying bombers and submarine to the area. On Thursday, he said the resumption of on Arctic Council military dialogue would contribute to stability.
He said later at a new conference that resuming that dialogue would be a priority for Russia while leading council.