Denmark offer olive branch to Russia over Arctic despite “unacceptable behaviour” in Ukraine

Anders Samuelsen has been engaged in discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov

At the meeting of the Arctic Forum, the Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, had a working dinner with representatives from Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

The main topic on the agenda was the development of the Arctic, but several other matters of common international significance were discussed.

Sustainable development
A number of Denmark’s concerns regarding the Arctic were aired, including the necessity to continue peaceful co-operation, the need to secure economic development for the people of the Arctic in a way that respects the environment, and the potential for the region to focus more on connectivity and digitalisation.

“I made it clear to Mr Lavrov that we would like to work together with Russia in the Arctic so that we can ensure that it is developed responsibly,” said the foreign minister, Anders Samuelsen.

Other foreign policy issues
“Russia’s behaviour in the Ukraine is unacceptable and we stand by the position of NATO and the EU, including that on sanctions. At the same time, it is also important that Russia applies more pressure to secure a ceasefire and a political solution in Syria,” continued Samuelsen.

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“There’s no doubt that we disagree with Russia on a lot of things, and we are also seeing more assertive Russian behaviour towards Denmark and our nearest neighbours in the Baltic. At this meeting, we will work to ensuring continued peaceful co-operation on the Arctic – and it is.”

This was attested to by both Lavrov and the other Nordic countries’ representatives.

Samuelsen is the first Danish minister to visit Russia since the conflict in Crimea broke out.