Murkowski Seeks to Pull Back "Window Dressing" of Arctic Rep
Senator Requests for Meeting with Secretary of State Kerry to Gain Information, Answers
KETCHIKAN, Alaska –One day after sharing her concerns that the recently-announced 'Special Representative for the Arctic' position represents mere "window dressing" on Arctic engagement, Senator Lisa Murkowski called on Secretary John Kerry to meet with her and provide more information about the nature of the position -- and why he is declining to name an official to a full Ambassador position.
With Senator Murkowski having recently delivered the Keynote Address at the Global Arctic Symposium and planning to participate in this weekend's Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region (SCPAR) and meet with the Chair of the Arctic Council, she wants to be assured that the Obama Administration is truly raising the profile of its Arctic agenda.
In a letter to Secretary Kerry (attached), Murkowski writes:
“I am also pleased that the position will be filled by a high level individual of substantial stature and expertise. I am gravely concerned, however, that the Special Representative will not be on par with our Arctic partners at international bilateral and multilateral events, nor will it have the authority within the U.S. Government to direct resources to the Far North and I welcome the opportunity to engage with you on these issues.”
When the State Department announced its plans to name a 'Special Representative to the Arctic,' Murkowski first vocalized these concerns -- given that 7 of the 8 Arctic nations (and non-Arctic nations like Thailand) have appointed full Ambassadors -- since the United States should not relegate its Arctic involvement given the global attention and investment in the region.