Senator Lisa Murkowski today is meeting with the President of Iceland, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, to discuss a variety of Arctic policy issues that continue to affect Alaska and the nation. Grimsson is in the nation's capital to offer the keynote address for an energy forum hosted by the Brookings Institution, as well as to raise awareness for the newly assembled Arctic Circle organization -- which has named Senator Murkowski an honorary board member, due to her stature as the Senate's leader on Arctic matters.
"The opportunity to meet with the head of state of a fellow Arctic nation is critical in keeping the United States front-and-center in discussions surrounding the region," said Senator Murkowski. "I don't consider meeting with President Grímsson as pursuing only Alaskan interests, but the interests of our entire Arctic Nation. As northern waterways open and international policies are crafted, I continue to remind my colleagues to look north to the future for new possibilities."
Murkowski's passion for the Arctic has clearly been a focus during her tenure in the Senate. In 2011, Murkowski traveled to Nuuk, Greeland with then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar as the first U.S. Senator to participate in the Arctic Council ministerial meetings -- calling for increased U.S. leadership in the Arctic. She also attended the 10th Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians last fall in Reykjavik, Iceland.
Additionally, Murkowski wrote Secretary of State John Kerry upon his confirmation to make certain, under his new leadership, America's involvement in the Arctic continued to grow. The letter included a request from Murkowski for the appointment of a U.S. Ambassador of the Arctic, in anticipation of the United States taking over as Chair of the Arctic Council in 2015.