Department of State Counselor Derek Chollet visited Reykjavik, Iceland October 12-14 to participate in the 2022 Arctic Circle Assembly (ACA) and to meet with Icelandic officials and other Arctic partners. While in Reykjavik, the Counselor highlighted the strong U.S. commitment to the Arctic, as outlined in the new U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic Region (NSAR). He also participated in discussions on a range of other important shared priorities, such as support for Ukraine.
During his plenary address at the Arctic Circle Assembly, Counselor Chollet outlined the four pillars of the NSAR, which include climate change and environmental protection, sustainable economic development, international cooperation and governance, and security. He underscored that the NSAR represented an “enhanced commitment” from the United States: “We will focus our plans around long-term investments. We will work to develop new ideas and approaches. We will work with a broad set of stakeholders; deepen our relationships with Allies and partners; and leverage our strengths across the U.S., state, and local governments,” he affirmed. Counselor Chollet also noted that the Arctic Council remains at the heart of U.S. efforts to sustain institutions for Arctic cooperation and find new ways to cooperate.
During Counselor Chollet’s meeting with Icelandic Foreign Minister Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, he expressed appreciation for strong bilateral collaboration on Arctic issues, as well as continued support for Ukraine in the face of ongoing Russian aggression. In an interview with Icelandic State Broadcaster RUV, Counselor Chollet highlighted the need for continued support for Ukraine, noting that “if Russia stops fighting, the war ends tomorrow. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends tomorrow.”
During the ACA, Counselor Chollet met with Arctic Circle Assembly Chairman and former president of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grímsson to discuss Arctic policy issues. He also met with European Union Director General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Charlina Vitcheva and European Union Special Envoy on Arctic Matters Clara Ganslandt. They affirmed their unwavering support to Ukraine and committed to overcoming the climate crisis. He also had productive conversations with Finnish, Norwegian, and Indian counterparts.
Counselor Chollet visited Keflavik Air Base on the final day of his visit, where he toured NATO facilities and learned about the Icelandic Coast Guard’s vital contributions.
“It is always a pleasure to visit this beautiful country and to collaborate with our strong partner and Ally Iceland on critical issues like Arctic policy and Russia’s illegitimate war in Ukraine,” Counselor Chollet said.