Tillerson arrives in Alaska for Arctic meeting

"I promise to take measures that will make it more comfortable for representatives of the indigenous peoples of Russian Federation to participate in the work of the Arctic Council", Lavrov said, noting that all native peoples should have a more active role in the Arctic Council.

He added: "Anybody who spent time in or studying the Arctic knows that the region is warming, that climate change is a real issue here, and the Arctic Council has certainly been paying attention to it".

"After the Ministerial Meeting, its participants will adopt a declaration in which all Arctic states will be expected to reaffirm their commitment to peace, stability and cooperation in the Arctic".

That's amidst fears that United States President Donald Trump will soon pull the US out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

"I'm pleased that we got to a good place thanks to the partnership of all the Arctic Council members, very much including the United States, and very much including Secretary Tillerson".

And the incoming chair, Finland's Foreign Minister Timo Soini, said the Paris accord and the United Nations 2030 goals for sustainable development would guide the council's work. High-level officials from the world's eight Arctic natio.

There were also fears that wider geopolitical tensions will develop in the Arctic as the US, Russia and China battle for oil and gas resources likely to be opened up by the melting of icecaps and unfreezing of waters. She said she was happy to see a strong recognition of the real impacts climate change is having on the Arctic, but also noted the single mention of the Paris agreement.

President Donald Trump has expressed doubts over the human role in climate change and has said he may pull the United States out of the Paris Accord to fight it. However, he said that Washington will take its time to make the right decision on the issue.

Tillerson sought to reassure the global Arctic community, saying "we're not going to rush" to make a decision, but that the American government would make "the right decision for the United States".

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Canada and the Nordic countries have stressed the importance of staying in the Paris agreement, setting them up for a potential clash with the United States over language in a final agreement to be reached at the conclusion of Thursday's meeting.

Moscow calls on its partners "to cooperate in order to implement the Russian program on the Arctic's economic development, as well as to protect the environment and support the traditions of the indigenous peoples of the North", the Russian top diplomat concluded.

Finland, which will take over the Arctic Council's chairmanship after the Fairbanks meeting, likewise hopes goodwill would prevail in relations between Arctic regional countries.

On this, Eegeesiak suggested that the Arctic Council's programs should integrate more traditional knowledge into its science programs from the beginning.

David Balton, a deputy assistant secretary of State, said other accomplishments included an agreement for scientific cooperation among Arctic nations, an assessment of improvements needed for better telecommunications, and implementation of a database of ships passing through the Arctic.

Finland will hold the organization's chairmanship until 2017.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson signed a document Thursday calling climate change a "serious threat" to the Arctic and noting the need for action to reduce its potentially harmful effects.

But still the signing of the Arctic agreement by Tillerson surprised an official close to the US State Department.

Mr Tillerson, the former chief executive of Exxon Mobil, told the meeting that the administration was reviewing how it would approach climate change.

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