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Medvedev: Arctic vital to Russia

Sept. 17, 2008 at 5:29 PM

MOSCOW, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Russia must secure its territory in the Arctic and improve infrastructure to allow it to exploit oil and natural gas reserves, President Dmitry Medvedev said.

Medvedev, speaking at a Russian Security Council meeting in Moscow, said that the energy resources in the Arctic are critical to the country's future, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

"According to estimates by experts, the Arctic shelf may have about one-fourth of the world's shelf hydrocarbon reserves, and the use of these reserves is a guarantee of Russia's overall energy security," Medvedev said.

Nikolai Patrushev, the council secretary, said that Russia has a valid claim to 18 percent of the Arctic shelf, Kommersant reported. The United States, Canada, Norway and Denmark, as well as Russia, now claim areas within 200 miles of their northern borders.

The government plans to draw up a plan for the Arctic by Dec. 1 and to present documentation of its claims in the Arctic to the United Nations next year, Patrushev said.

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