Jim Dehart: Washington Considers It Crucial To Maintain Cooperation With Russia In The Arctic
The new state Department coordinator for the Arctic, Jim DeHart, considers it important to maintain cooperation with the Russian Federation in this region.
"Russia is an Arctic country. They occupy most of the Arctic. They are a member of the Arctic Council. We have a history of cooperation with Russia in this context. There was very good cooperation that continues. When you look at research and science, search and rescue [operations], [cooperation in fighting] natural disasters, and so on. That is an important, real collaboration that must continue," he said on Friday during a video conference organized by the Woodrow Wilson Research Center in Washington.
"Given the exclusivity of the Arctic, is it possible to completely isolate the region from the problems that we have with Russia? I don't know if we can do this fully," he added.
According to DeHart, the Arctic Council is a suitable platform for cooperation between the Russian Federation and the United States. "Without a doubt, the goal is to preserve the Arctic as a zone for cooperation. I think the Arctic Council is an outstanding forum for this. I do not doubt that we will continue to [apply] this approach with Russia in the context of the Arctic Council. There are many important things that we can do there," DeHart said.
"We need communication to avoid trouble that could lead to conflict. I think these mechanisms should exist. We must think about this very carefully, and we must take into account whether restoring contacts in certain areas will serve Russian interests. We must ensure that such a dialogue serves our interests," DeHart added.
Goals and challenges
According to DeHart, the United States seeks to ensure that the Arctic remains a "peaceful region."
"I think our goals [in the Arctic] are clear. We want this to be a peaceful region where there is no threat to our country, where there is good and sustainable economic growth. We are focused on a region where there are close cooperation and compliance with the law-based order, "he said, referring to Russia, as well as China, as those who present" some challenges " to achieve these goals.
"I believe that there is little chance that we will see the beginning of a conflict in the Arctic, it is more likely that if the conflict occurs somewhere else, it can spread to the Arctic," DeHart added.
The state Department announced DeHart's appointment as coordinator for the Arctic region earlier this week. In the past, the state Department had the post of a special representative of the United States for the Arctic, but it was abolished.