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University of Akureyri seen from the skyThe University of Akureyri hosted a Law Forum today, open for the public. Eric Green, Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S Embassy in Reykjavik and Gregory P. Sims, Regional Political Officer at the U.S Embassy in Oslo, discussed the U.S foreign policy with regards to Iceland and the Arctic region.

Eric Green has held the position of the Deputy since August 2011. Before coming to Iceland, he specialized as Minister Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S Embassy in Moscow. Gregory P. Sims is regional political officer at the U.S. Embassy on Oslo. He joined the State Department in 1988 and has specialized in Russian politics and transnational issues.

The U.S representatives addressed the issue of U.S interest in Arctic natural resources, but did not clearly stated names of the companies which might be interested in possible oil and gas drilling around the Jan Mayen archipelago. They stated that the planned exploration in the area would cause no significant impacts on the Arctic fish and other wildlife as all current operations around the Arctic are being conducted in environment friendly manner.

The floor was opened for the discussion to all participants and the proposal for establishing the human rights working group within the Arctic Council was made.

Participants also discussed the U.S policy with regards to Icelandic domestic affairs. The impact of U.S military base on Iceland´s community was recalled and challenges for new business opportunities on the south cost were mentioned. It was stated that the U.S companies are highly interested in Iceland´s inexpensive, renewable energy and are ready to conduct the business to support the Icelandic economy.

The U.S representatives made a clear statement that they would be greatly engaged in current Arctic issues and they will consider to take part in on coming 5th Polar Law Symposium which will be held at the Arctic Center in Rovaniemi, Finland, in September 2012.