Following is the text of the Joint Statement of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov on Cooperation in the Bering Strait Region.
Secretary Clinton and Foreign Minister Lavrov reaffirm the longstanding interest of the Russian Federation and the United States of America in protecting the shared natural and cultural heritage of Alaska and Chukotka. The Bering Strait region represents both an ancient crossroads and an area of present-day cooperation between Americans and Russians. Over the past twenty years, the “Shared Beringian Heritage Program” has promoted a better understanding of shared history and helped to sustain the cultural vitality of the indigenous peoples in the Bering Strait region.
Both the United States and Russia seek to deepen cooperation and strengthen ties in the region of their common boundary in the Bering Strait. In that regard, both sides recognize the need to protect the rights of indigenous peoples residing in Alaska and Chukotka, and to ensure that residents and indigenous peoples engaged in cultural and traditional activities aimed at providing for their personal needs have continued access to natural resources in accordance with each nation’s laws.
Foreign Minister Lavrov and Secretary Clinton have agreed to pursue a Transboundary Area of Beringian specially protected natural territory, in consultation with local and tribal governments, linking the proposed Beringia National Park in Chukotka with the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument in Alaska. The intent of the proposed link between these specially protected natural territories will promote conservation of flora, fauna and the natural ecosystem; preservation of kinship ties, cultural traditions, subsistence lifestyle and language of the indigenous peoples of the region; and collaboration on conservation, management scientific research, and effective monitoring of the environment. The objective is to conclude an arrangement on the proposed Transboundary Area of Beringian specially protected natural territory between the United States and Russia by December 31, 2012.