Ottawa – 12 February 2010 – The Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), visiting Ottawa this week from Alaska, announced today that he expects that Inuit will be invited to the summit of five foreign affairs ministers, hosted by Canada next month. The five ministers, representing those Arctic states that border the Arctic Ocean, will be discussing matters of Arctic sovereignty.
In a letter addressed to Canada’s minister of foreign affairs and host of the meeting, the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Mr. Stotts reminded him of the speech Mr. Cannon gave at the Arctic Council ministerial last April in Tromsø, Norway, just after ICC launched the Circumpolar Inuit Declaration on Arctic Sovereignty.
In that speech, Minister Cannon welcomed the conciliatory language he found in the Inuit Declaration, saying “I would underline the importance of dialogue between states, indigenous peoples and Northerners”.
The ICC Chair said he welcomed the tone of Mr. Cannon’s comments in Tromsø when Mr. Cannon also said that Inuit interests and concerns should be “reflected in the deliberations of other multi-lateral institutions because decisions there will affect Arctic peoples.” Mr. Stotts added, “given these words, I expect Inuit will be given an invitation to be active participants in the upcoming sovereignty summit”.
Duane Smith, ICC Canada President said that he understands that states may wish to meet outside the Arctic Council from time to time on various issues the Council does not address. “Because Inuit are a coastal people, because this summit is about the Arctic Ocean coast, and because Mr. Cannon underlined the importance of our involvement in multi-lateral meetings outside the Arctic Council”, Mr. Stotts concluded, “I expect we will be given an invitation to play a meaningful role at this important summit”.
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