Lavrov to take on Arctic Council leadership in person

19.04.2021 - 11:02
Guðlaugur Þór Þórðarson og Sergei Lavrov handsala viljayfirlýsingu um samstarf á Norðurslóðum.
 Mynd: Rússneska utanríkisráðuneyti - Utanríkisráðuneytið
Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, plans to attend the Arctic Council meeting in Reyjavík next month in person. Russia formally takes over the rotating presidency of the council from Iceland at the meeting.

The Icelandic foreign ministry has not received formal notification of which ministers from other council member states will attend in person, but Lavrov's intention was confirmed last week by his press officer, Maria Zakharóva.

Foreign office press officer Sveinn H. Guðmarsson says that under normal circumstances all eight Arctic Council members would send their foreign ministers, but that this May's meeting will be different given the global situation.

It is therefore not yet possible to say whether or not Lavrov will meet his new American counterpart, Anthony Blinken, for the first time in Reykjavík.

Iceland took over presidency of the Arctic Council from Finland in 2019.

The council is made up of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States of America, but many other countries are observer members; including China.

The ministerial meeting is organised from the Arctic Council headquarters in Tromsø, Norway. Around 300 guests would usually descend on the host city, but Reykjavík is expecting roughly 50 to 80 attendees next month.

Sergei Laverov has been Russia's foreign minister since 2004 and is seen as Vladimir Putin's right-hand-man, having proven himseld a strong ambassador for his president overseas and a staunch ally at home.

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