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Timo Soini, the foreign minister of Finland, said Finns "recognize that global warming is the main driver of change" in the Arctic.

But what should we be watching for as circumpolar politicians, diplomats and indigenous leaders gather in Fairbanks? The council reworked the wording and convinced the U.S.to accept the changes.

Officials will most likely approve a measure to improve scientific cooperation in the region, and Mr Tillerson will turn over the rotating chairmanship of the intergovernmental organisation, which the U.S. has held for two years, to Finland.

Eye on the Arctic: What grade would you give the USA chairmanship and why?

"There are number of issues at play, and I'm reasonably confident that it will come out fine in the end", he said.

The real strength of the USA chairmanship was to emphasize a unified Arctic at a time where tensions were so high. "I'm grateful for the level of cooperation that the nations and the people of the arctic have demonstrated as they continue to address these challenges".

Were there any missed opportunities under the US chairmanship? The arguments focused in part on the special status of indigenous organizations and encouraged a comparable position for northern sub-national actors like Alaska, Greenland, the Canadian territories, Nordic municipalities and Russia's republics.

To the Arctic Council, her message was "let's have the courage to make it even better".

Trump campaigned for office warning that he may pull the United States out of the 2015 Paris accord and he has already launched a review of Washington's policy towards climate change.

"Then that did not happen, and I think that bodes well for the future", Wallstrom said.

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"We are focused on ensuring that decisions are not taken at these meetings that would prejudice our future policy, undermine the competitiveness of USA businesses, or hamper our broader objective of advancing USA economic growth and prosperity", a State Department official said.

What will you be watching for on May 11th? "But my own feeling is that US interests in the Arctic are long-term and enduring, and they have a lot to do with the state of Alaska, and that's not changing".

He has since launched a review of USA participation in the deal, but the White House revealed this week that no decision will be made until Trump returns from Europe on May 27.

By including regional governments in Arctic Council meetings and empowering them to implement Arctic Council initiatives outside of the direct management of national governments, progress on climate change could be maintained despite a lack of commitment from national governments.

The Arctic remains one of the regions where Moscow and Washington continue to cooperate despite rocky bilateral relations, Kommersant writes. Later in the statement, the parties commit a whole section to addressing the impacts of climate change, laying out eleven steps forward.

The former head of Exxon Mobil Corp. said the USA would continue to be an active member of the eight-member Arctic Council, which also includes Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

A second thing to watch for is how Finland really wants to raise its own profile as an Arctic country with Arctic expertise.

Many nations have expressed hopes the USA will stay, but they also believe the accord has enough backing to survive a withdrawal.

The document of goals noted that Finland will use its Chairmanship to promote Finnish Arctic expertise.


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