"It’s certainly, I think, in Russia’s interest to get that [binding agreement]. And if they [Russia] will say yes to a binding agreement, I think the United States is willing to do that. It’s gotta be good for Russia, Canada and the United States," Benton said.
Last July, five Arctic nations – Russia, the United States, Norway, Canada, Denmark – signed a declaration aimed at preventing unregulated commercial fishing in the central Arctic Ocean. The countries also stated their intent to establish a joint program of scientific research to improve understanding of the region's ecosystems.
While the fishing is not currently occurring in that area, the declaration serves as a precautionary measure due to climate change and reduction of Arctic ice.
The two-day conference "International Cooperation in the Arctic: New Challenges and Vectors of Development" kicked off on Wednesday in the Russian capital with expert sessions devoted to the 20th anniversary of the eight-member Arctic Council, comprising of Russia, Norway, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden.