Russia to Present Revised Claim of Arctic Territory to the United Nations

A senior Russian government official on Tuesday formally presented to the United Nations his country’s claim to Arctic Ocean seabed, including an area under the North Pole.

Russia presented a written claim in August, after the United Nations committee that arbitrates disputes over sea boundaries had rejected on technical grounds an earlier application by Russia for the North Pole, submitted in 2002.

In a statement, Mr.  Sergei Donskoy, the Minister of Natural Resources, said he would lay out Russia’s arguments, based on scientific evidence that the continental shelf extends north from the Eurasian land mass far under the planet’s ice cap.

Russia is staking a claim, he said, “to the seabed beyond the 200-mile zone along the entire Russian polar sector including the zone under the North Pole.

Under a 1982 United Nations convention, the Law of the Sea, a nation may claim an exclusive economic zone over the continental shelf abutting its shores.If the geological shelf extends far out to sea, the nation can claim mineral resources in the seabed beyond that zone, though the recent oil price slump has dampened the enthusiasm of oil companies for such ventures.

If the United Nations committee accepts Russia’s claim, the seabed under the North Pole would be subject to Moscow’s oversight for activities like oil drilling, though Russia will not have sovereignty over the water or the ice.

-More at NYTimes

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