Channel 1 Los Angeles
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today spoke with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, at the Arctic Council Ministerial meeting.
Minister Garneau reiterated that Canada firmly supports the work of the Arctic Council and will continue to work with all Arctic states and Indigenous Permanent Participants to advance sustainable economic, social and cultural development as well as environmental protection initiatives important to Northern Peoples and communities in the circumpolar Arctic region.
Minister Garneau reiterated Canada’s unequivocal condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion and annexation of Crimea and expressed Canada’s concern over Russia’s recent destabilizing actions in and around Ukraine.
Minister Garneau expressed Canada’s long-standing concerns regarding other destabilizing behaviour by Russia and the deteriorating human rights situation. He stressed that respect for opposition voices, independent media, dissidents and civil society is a fundamental part of freedom and democracy. He called once again for the release of opposition figure Alexey Navalny.
They discussed concerns pertaining to the dire political, humanitarian and economic situation in Venezuela.
Finally, Minister Garneau and Minister Lavrov discussed the developments in Nagorno-Karabakh. Minister Garneau reiterated that Canada continues to call on Armenia and Azerbaijan to ease tensions and expresses its hope that the parties can engage in meaningful action, including accelerating the release of detainees and the remains of the deceased, the investigation and prosecution of all alleged war crimes and cooperation on demining, and that we will continue to support the primary role of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in reaching a permanent settlement of this conflict.