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U.S. won't be rushed on climate change policies - Tillerson

17 Mai 2017

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks in Washington, US, March 6, 2017.

Tillerson arrived late Wednesday afternoon in Fairbanks and immediately held a meeting with a congressional delegation as well as Arctic representatives from Alaska's indigenous people.

The other hot issue projected for the Council's meeting, was the British Monarchy's genocidal Paris climate change agreement.

Trump also had pledged to boost the USA oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries with his "America First" energy policy.

Tillerson made the remarks on Thursday while speaking at a meeting of Arctic nations in Fairbanks, Alaska, where the top U.S. diplomat signed an agreement recognizing the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, but said Trump would decide whether to leave or weaken the pact.

The Finn official said the Paris Agreement is the cornerstone of global efforts to slow the impact of climate change, and said long-term strategic planning is important for the Arctic region.

A State Department official downplayed the significance of the administration's decision to sign the Fairbanks Declaration.

That's amidst fears that United States President Donald Trump will soon pull the USA out of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

"We are appreciative that each of you has an important point of view, and you should know that we are taking the time tounderstand your concerns", Tillerson said in his opening address".

"We're not going to rush to make a decision".

At the beginning of its Arctic Council presidency under then-president Barack Obama, the United States had identified Arctic climate change as a top priority. The U.S. will continue to be an active member of the council, he said.

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Christina-Alexa Liakos of Greenpeace USA, said her group will watch the meeting with an eye toward US policy on broader environmental issues, such as the Paris Climate Agreement. The administration has announced reviews of Obama's decisions to limit offshore drilling and is reconsidering national monument designations made over the last two decades.

Both Tillerson and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attended the Arctic Council meeting, as did the foreign ministers of Greenland, Canada, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland.

Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom said she walked away from a private conversation with Tillerson hopeful of the U.S.' intent in the region. Tillerson is among those advocating for the U.S.to remain part of the agreement, brokered in 2015 by more than 190 nations.

"I have an open mind to it", he said. "The Arctic Council will continue to be an important platform as we deliberate on these issues".

The U.S. was formally handing over the rotating chairmanship to Finland.

In another agreement reached Thursday, the eight countries agreed to facilitate access by scientists and their equipment and materials to identified Arctic areas and research facilities.

Timo Soini, the foreign minister of Finland, said Finns "recognize that global warming is the main driver of change" in the Arctic. Soini said Arctic resources and transportation routes may attract interest.

"We'd heard. that there would likely be a significant United States effort to redline or even remove entirely the Paris and climate language", said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"I'm pleased that we got to a good place thanks to the partnership of all the Arctic Council members, very much including the United States, and very much including Secretary Tillerson".

And Arctic cooperation is familiar ground for Tillerson, a former ExxonMobil chief executive who once negotiated oil deals in northern waters with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

U.S. won't be rushed on climate change policies - Tillerson