Canada boycotts Arctic Council meeting in Moscow
Canada boycotted Arctic Council meetings in Russia this week in protest of Russia's "illegal occupation" of Ukraine, Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Tuesday.
Aglukkaq is responsible for the Canadian Northern Development Agency and currently chairs the Arctic Council.
She said the boycott of the working-group level meetings in Moscow was "as a result of Russia's illegal occupation of Ukraine and its continued provocative actions in Crimea and elsewhere.
However, she added, "Canada will continue to support the important work of the Arctic Council."
The Arctic has seen growing international interest in recent years, as global warming causes the Arctic ice cap to melt and opens new navigation routes that facilitate the use of previously inaccessible raw materials.
Canada currently holds the rotating, two-year presidency of the Arctic Council, which promotes cooperation on issues such as environmental protection, oil and gas mining, shipping, fishing and tourism.
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States are also members.
The two-day meeting in Moscow was to discuss methane and black carbon -- a fine particulate matter that warms the Earth by absorbing heat in the atmosphere and by reducing the ability of snow and ice to reflect sunlight.
© 2014 AFP