While Russia takes over the Chair of the Arctic Council next year, Finland will have the responsibility of the Barents Euro-Arctic Council in the same two-year period, 2021-2023.
On the initiative of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, the phone conversation took place between Sergey Lavrov and Pekka Haavisto on August 12.
The ministers agreed on close cooperation as the two countries will be in charge of the two multilateral formats of northern cooperation, the Arctic and the European Barents Region.
“In responding to the COVID-19 crisis, regional and cross-border cooperation, such as the Northern Dimension policy and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council with its working groups focusing on health, offer excellent tools. We also took note of the opportunities for cooperation during the coinciding Russian chairmanship of the Arctic Council and the Finnish chairmanship of the Barents Regional Council,” Foreign Minister Haavisto said. He underlined the importance of a low-carbon future.
Arms control, Ukraine and Russia-EU relations were also on the agenda, according to a press release from the Finnish Foreign Ministry. Haavisto emphasized the importance of the Open Skies Agreement and called on Russia to remain in the agreement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry’s press release highlighted the good Russian-Finnish neighboring relations, but emphasized the security challenges in the area as Sergey Lavrov pointed to the “destructive nature of NATO’s activities in the Baltic Sea region.”
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