"Working through the Arctic Council with our Russian counterparts has really been a great example of that type of collaborative spirit that really has been brought to the US by the Arctic," Melanie Nakagawa said.
Nakagawa added that in terms of the current cooperation in the energy-environment space, the Arctic Council has also served a great example of cooperation among all the Arctic states "focused on our shared interests in the region, our common values, for putting the people first in the region, increasing investment into the resources in the region as well as increasing investment into the people of the region."
Nakagawa noted that the current tensions between Moscow and Washington have not impacted their engagement within the Council.
"My experience has been limited mainly to the Arctic Council areas and within that somewhat limited in terms of engagement, and so I am not personally seeing that in terms of our engagement. In the Council we have really great engagement with them," she explained.
When asked whether there are any meetings planned between with her Russia counterpart, Nakagawa said, "Not in the immediate future. Not right now."
The Arctic Council is comprised of the eight Arctic nations — the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden. The United States currently chairs the Arctic Council until the May 2017 ministerial meeting scheduled to be held in Fairbanks, Alaska.