Blinken confirms intention to attend Iceland meeting

20.04.2021 - 13:41
epa08987648 US Secretary of State Antony Blinken introduces US President Joe Biden (not pictured) at the US State Department in Washington, DC, USA, 04 February 2021. Biden announced that he is ending US support for the Saudi's offensive operations in Yemen.  EPA-EFE/JIM LO SCALZO
 Mynd: EFE - EPA
Anthony Blinken, American Secretary of State, has confirmed he will attend next month’s Arctic Council meeting in Reykjavík. His speech last night means that the foreign ministers of both Russia and the USA have now confirmed they will attend the meeting in person. Russia takes over the two-year rotating presidency of the Arctic Council from Iceland at the meeting on 19th and 20th May.

All Arctic Council member states and indigenous groups were invited to the meeting on the condition that they keep delegations small because of the pandemic. 

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

Politicians coming to Iceland are subject to 'working quarantine' procedures. These are different to those for tourists or residents of the country. Blinken and Sergei Lavrov, as well as their delegations, will all be in the same working quarantine bubble and therefore free to hold meetings in person. 

Relations between Russia and the USA are cool and both sides have applied sanctions and expelled diplomats over Russia’s ongoing dispute with Ukraine. Despite this, Russian president Vladimir Putin has reacted favourably to US president Joe Biden’s suggestion of a meeting between the two leaders. Finland has already offered to host such a meeting. Their foreign ministers will, it now seems likely, meet each other for the first time in Iceland. 

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