Russia lays down law over border claims

Jan. 14, 2011 at 10:51 AM
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MOSCOW, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Foreign pressure over border disputes in the oil- and gas-rich arctic region are unnecessary threats, the Russian foreign minister said from Moscow.

Moscow is trying to convince the international community that it has a greater claim to the arctic. A 1982 convention gives bordering nations the right to extend arctic claims if the government can prove its continental shelf extends beyond a 200-mile limit.

Maritime border disputes between Russia and Norway were resolved in September when they signed a demarcation deal for a 67,500-square-mile area of the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean.

Moscow is upset with Canada, however, over its claims to the Lomonosov Ridge, which reaches the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said "any problems" with the demarcation of maritime territory are something for the courts and any pressures over the claims "are a provocation," he was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.

With sea ice receding in part because of global climate change, the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia are examining territorial claims to the arctic as once-trapped hydrocarbons become more exposed.

Moscow will present its claims to the United Nations once a border study is finalized by 2013. Moscow claimed part of the region in 2001 but the United Nations demanded more proof the area was part of Russian territory.

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