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U.S., Russia to examine Antarctica

Jan. 23, 2012 at 7:14 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Russian and U.S. scientists started a five-day inspection Monday to review environmental effects of foreign stations in Antarctica, the U.S. government said.

The U.S. State Department announced it was teaming with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inspect foreign stations in Antarctica.

"The U.S.-Russian team will review adherence by treaty parties to their obligations, including with respect to limiting environmental impacts, ensuring that Antarctica is used only for peaceful purposes and that parties honor the prohibition on measures of a military nature," the State Department said in a statement.

The United Nations' International Maritime Organization announced in August that ships traveling through parts of Antarctic are prohibited from using fuels containing "bitumen, tar and their emulsions."

With melting sea ice exposing unexplored oil and natural gas deposits, Russia, meanwhile, is trying to convince the international community its claim to the arctic extends beyond limits spelled out in a 1982 convention.

Moscow will present its findings to the United Nations once the study is finalized by 2013.

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