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Top diplomats from eight Arctic countries today met in Greenland's capital, Nuuk, to discuss ways to regulate exploitation of the region as global warming melts the ice.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told reporters there that the meeting is meant "to raise the visibility of Arctic issues."

The chief U.S. diplomat was accompanied by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and their counterparts from Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.

The eight top diplomats and government representatives were due to sign an Arctic Search and Rescue Agreement.

The U.S. State Department said the document will be the first binding international agreement among the eight states of the Arctic Council, which was founded in 1996.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the region accounts for about 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas.

compiled from agency reports