France Shows Interest In Development Of Northern Sea Route - Russian Official

France Shows Interest in Development of Northern Sea Route - Russian Official

MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 18th June, 2021) France no longer objects to the development of the Northern Sea Route, but to make the project more attractive to international partners, Russia should make sure it is environmentally friendly, Nikolai Korchunov, the ambassador-at-large of the Russian Foreign Ministry and a senior official of the Arctic Council, said on Thursday.

In 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the development of the Arctic shipping route will kill the planet, Korchunov recalled.

"Two months ago I had consultations with France's Arctic ambassador. He refuted this statement, apologized on behalf of the president and said that he [Macron] realized he was wrong, and that France was interested in the development of the Northern Sea Route," Korchunov stated at a meeting of the working group under the Council on the Development of the Far East, Arctic and Antarctic.

Korchunov noted that in 2018 a US-based NGO, the Ocean Conservancy, launched a campaign against the Arctic cargo traffic, which was supported by six of the world's ten largest container shipping companies and some top global brands, including Nike, GAP and H&M.

At the same time, Korchunov added, no companies from South Korea, Japan, China or Norway joined the campaign.

"Shipping will have future when it is not only economically justified, but also environmentally. The environmental factor is taking priority, so now, of course, we need to take into account what type of fuel will be used by ice-class container ships when we decide on the transit scheme," he stressed.

The official further urged Russia to step up its efforts in ensuring protection of the marine environment and biodiversity, as well as timely solve other existing issues while developing the shipping route.

In May, Russia assumed the two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that aims at promoting partnership and coordination between the regional states. It comprises Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.