Statement by Assistant to the President for Press Relations Fitzwater on the Canada-United States Agreement on the Arctic

 

January 11, 1988

 

The Canadian Secretary of State for External Affairs, the Right Honourable Joe Clark, and the Secretary of State, George Shultz, today concluded an agreement on cooperation between Canada and the United States in the Arctic. The agreement affirms the political will of the two countries to cooperate in advancing their shared interests in Arctic navigation, development, and security. It signals the importance which the two countries attach to protection of the unique and fragile environment of the region and the well-being of the inhabitants of the north.

 

The agreement signed today marks the culmination of 24 months of discussions between the two governments. ``This is an important step forward for Canada in the north,'' Prime Minister Mulroney said today. ``While we and the United States have not changed our legal positions, we have come to a practical agreement that is fully consistent with the requirements of Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. It is an improvement over the situation which prevailed previously. What we have now significantly advances Canadian interests.'' President Reagan stated: ``This is a pragmatic solution based on our special bilateral relationship, our common interest in cooperating on Arctic matters, and the nature of the area. It is without prejudice to our respective legal positions, and it sets no precedents for other areas.''