For 30 years now, the Barents Euro-Arctic Council (BEAC) has been a valuable and effective platform for transborder cooperation which contributed to the maintenance of peace and stability in the north, the sustainable socioeconomic development of the north, environmental protection, the strengthening of cultural and humanitarian ties, and people-to-people contacts, including representatives from the indigenous peoples.
Through the fault of the Western members (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the EU), the Council’s activities have been effectively paralysed since March 2022. The Finnish presidency failed to confirm the transfer of the BEAC presidency to Russia, scheduled for October 2023, in violation of the principle of rotation thus disrupting the necessary preparations.
Under these circumstances, we are compelled to announce the withdrawal of the Russian Federation from the Barents Euro-Arctic Council. The relevant statement from the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, Sergey Lavrov, dated September 18, 2023, has been sent to the foreign ministries of the member countries of the organisation, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, as well as to the International Barents Secretariat in Kirkenes, Norway.
We are convinced that the fleeting political situation, which our northern European neighbours are guided by, does not correspond to the long-term interests of the people of the Arctic region. The responsibility for breaking down the architecture of Barents cooperation rests entirely with our “partners.”
Russia will continue to pursue its national objectives in the north. We remain open to cooperation with anyone who is committed to constructive engagement, and is prepared for equal dialogue and mutually beneficial collaborative work.