Canada Holds Bilateral Talks with Russia

(No. 297 - September 16, 2010 - 4:10 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement after meetings with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, and with Artur Chilingarov, Russia’s Presidential Representative for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic:

“I had productive meetings with both Minister Lavrov and Mr. Chilingarov. Minister Lavrov and I discussed the full range of G-8 issues in advance of the foreign ministers meeting planned for later this month in New York City. We also exchanged views on other issues of common interest, such as the Arctic. Mr. Chilingarov and I discussed the important scientific contributions of both our countries in the Arctic and reaffirmed our commitment to the region.

“During the meetings, I also discussed recent initiatives Canada has taken to promote its interests in the North, such as progress on Arctic mapping, as well as the release of Canada’s Arctic foreign policy statement.

“The Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy underscores that exercising sovereignty is our number one Arctic foreign-policy priority. We have made significant investments in our North through monitoring activities, frequent military exercises and significant investments, including a new generation of satellites, a world-class High Arctic research station, new Arctic patrol ships and an expanded Canadian rangers service.

“We continue to use expertise, science and ingenuity to draw new lines on the future map of Canada. In particular, scientific data will demonstrate that the Lomonosov Ridge, one of the major submarine features of the Arctic Ocean, is attached to the Canadian landmass. This data will be used in Canada’s submission to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. This will provide international recognition for the precise extent of the extended continental shelf over which Canada may exercise its sovereign rights. Canada fully intends to complete its submission by the end of 2013.

“Interest in the Arctic continues to grow, and this has implications for Canada. I reiterated to both my Russian counterpart and Mr. Chilingarov that our government is dedicated to providing good governance and to fulfilling the North’s true potential as a healthy, prosperous and secure region. I also restated our government’s unwavering commitment to protecting Canada’s sovereignty, and emphasized that our territorial integrity remains non-negotiable.”

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