Arctic issues and Russia’s actions in Ukraine took centre stage as Canada’s foreign affairs minister John Baird wrapped up a visit to Norway on Friday.
“Norway is a strong international partner and NATO ally for Canada,” said Baird in a news release on Friday. ” We continue to enjoy a strong bilateral relationship and work closely on a number of multilateral issues, particularly on the Arctic. We appreciate Norway’s support on this issue.”
Norway was the first stop of Baird’s European trip where he seeks to promote unity with European allies on issues like global security and humanitarian challenges.
Tensions with Russia over Ukraine will be a key issue for Baird on this trip, and was highlighted when he met with Norway’s foreign minister Børge Brende.
“Minister Brende and I remain united in our support for Ukraine and continue to condemn Russia’s actions,” said Baird. “Canada will continue to work with its allies and partners to put financial and political pressure on those who seek to undermine Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Canada has spoken out strongly against Russia’s leadership since the Ukraine crisis began. Canada also currently holds the rotating two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council of which Russia is a member along with Norway, Finland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and the United States.
There’s been much concern about how increasing tensions between the West and Russia will affect the work of the international forum and Arctic cooperation in general.
In April, Canada boycotted an Arctic Council meeting in Moscow to protest Russian actions in Crimea.
Arctic Council video by the Government of Canada:
Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: Will Russia’s actions in Ukraine affect relations in the Arctic Council?, Eye on the Arctic
Finland: Ex-President Ahtisaari calls on Finland to join NATO with Sweden, Yle News
Norway: Nordics rethink security after Ukraine crisis, Yle News
Sweden: Sweden providing jets to NATO, Radio Sweden
Russia: Blog – Russia puts countries on edge in the Arctic, Cryopolitics
United States: Can an aggressive Russia remain U.S.’s nice Arctic neighbor?, APRN