U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered a rare public rebuke to close ally Canada, criticizing it for excluding key nations from a meeting to discuss the resource-rich Arctic.
Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon gathered his counterparts from Russia, Norway, the United States and Denmark for three hours of talks on Monday on the grounds that they were the only nations with Arctic coastlines.
The decision prompted unhappiness in Sweden, Finland and Iceland, who are also members of the eight-nation Arctic Council — traditionally the body where most important decisions on the region are taken.
“Significant international discussions on Arctic issues should include those who have legitimate interests in the region,” Clinton said in a statement issued before the meeting had even begun. “I hope the Arctic will always showcase our ability to work together, not create new divisions…”
Cannon spent much of his closing news conference responding to questions about Clinton’s statement and insisting he was not trying to marginalize the Arctic Council…
The five nations that did participate in the meeting are the only ones engaged in a protracted process of filing territorial claims in the Arctic, a region that experts say contains rich oil and gas deposits.
“While development may be years in the future, the renewable and nonrenewable resource potential of the Arctic Ocean represents tremendous opportunities,” said Cannon. “We have a common commitment to the orderly settlement of any possible overlapping claims.”
If you need a translation, that’s horseshit diplomacy talk for “We’re figuring out how to divvy up the mineral rights”.