No Arctic declaration due to US refusal

Members of the Arctic Council meeting in Finland's far north on Tuesday failed to issue their traditional final declaration due to a US refusal to mention climate change, news wires reported. This is the first time the Arctic Council, which held its first meeting in 1996, failed to present a final declaration at the end of one of its ministerial meetings, which are held every two years. The Arctic Council groups Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US.

"This is an organization where all decisions are based on consensus. There must be unanimous decisions," Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini, who chaired the meeting, told reporters."I don't name and blame anybody," he said about the absence of a declaration, adding "it is clear that climate issues are different from the different viewpoints and from the different capitals."

In a speech in Rovaniemi on the eve of the council meeting, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took on China, which holds observer status, and Russia, slamming their "aggressive behaviour" in the Arctic. And notably, he did not mention "climate change" once, even though, according to scientists, global warming is progressing twice as fast in the Arctic as in the rest of the world.

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