For example, a spirit of Arctic partnership in the council has prevailed despite seething global tensions over Russia's annexation of Crimea, its role in Ukraine unrest and its military actions in support of Syria's Assad regime, said René Söderman, a senior adviser for Arctic affairs at the Finnish foreign ministry and one of the leaders of the Finnish delegation to the Arctic Council.

Those factors "could all affect Arctic cooperation, but they haven't," Söderman said. The United States and Russia have put aside the differences they have on non-Arctic issues, he said. "We feel that the U.S. has been very pragmatic and the Russians have been very cooperative within the Arctic Council," he said.

Such Arctic cooperation will likely continue under the Trump administration, he said. The Arctic nations have common interests in promoting environmental protection, sustained development and better living conditions for people in the Arctic, he said.

"Those issues don't know any borders," he said.

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