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Arctic Circle Opens

President Ólaf­ur Ragn­ar Gríms­son this morning opened the Arctic Circle Conference at Harpa concert hall, mbl.is reports.

He called the conference the largest annual gathering held to discuss issues regarding the Arctic and welcomed representatives of states, the scientific community, public organizations and others to share their ideas. He said the conference sent a strong message that its participants intended to safeguard the Arctic.

He introduced the conference program, which includes speeches by delegations from Germany and China, as well as a forum organized by the World Wildlife Fund. He said science and research were at the forefront in all negotiations regarding the Arctic.

Over 1,900 representatives from more than 50 countries participate in the conference, among them French President François Hollande who will deliver the conference’s keynote speech tonight.

According to the conference website, sessions will be held on various issues, including sea ice melt and extreme weather; polar law: treaties and agreements; security in the Arctic shipping and transportation infrastructure; fisheries and ecosystem management; and the prospects and risks of oil and gas drilling.

The conference concludes Sunday.

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