Russia ready to talk North Pole with Denmark

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An iceberg  off Ammassalik Island in Eastern Greenland. Denmark filed its claim with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in December 2014. (John McConnico/File/AP)
An iceberg off Ammassalik Island in Eastern Greenland. Denmark filed its claim with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf in December 2014. (John McConnico/File/AP)
It might take up to 15 years to settle the Arctic delimitation issue, the Russian Foreign Ministry says.

Russia and Denmark/Greenland both want the North Pole and have submitted conflicting claims to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.

A settlement of the issue will not come any time soon.

According the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it might take 10-15 years before a settlement to the overlapping claims is made, astatement reads.

Cooperation will continue

The ministry underlines that the two countries have “cooperated in the whole process related to the Arctic claims and will continue to do so”.

“We have been well aware of the Danish plans […] and it has for a long time been clear that the country’s bid for extended continental shelf will include and even exceed the North Pole”, the ministry says.

While Denmark submitted its claim on 15 December 2014, Russia handed in its papers on 3rd August. The Russian bid covers an area of about 1,2 million square kilometers and includes all of the Lomonosov and Medeleev Ridges, as well as the Alfa and Chukotskoye Heights and the in between basins of Podvodnikov and Chukotskaya.

To be addressed in 2016

The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will now assess the submitted claims and the comprehensive research materials included. The Russian side originally expected the UN body to review its claims already in fall 2015. However, UN Spokesman Farhan Haq underlines that it will be addressed only at the next plenary meeting of the Shelf Commission, due February or March 2016.

“Russia’s latest submission is being circulated to all 193 U.N. member states, including all charts and coordinates”, he told the New York Times.

Bilateral talks

The UN Commission will ultimately deliver its position on the continental shelf in the area. However, it does not have the mandate to delimitate the Arctic borders.

The delimitation issue will be settled in bilateral talks, the Russian Ministry underlines.

“Possible overlapping parts of our countries’ shelf in the Arctic will be delimited in a bilateral manner, in negotiations and on the basis of international law”, it maintains.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Canada to collect more data for continental shelf claim, Eye on the Arctic

Denmark: Denmark claims North Pole, Barents Observer

Iceland:  Revisualizing the Cryosphere, Blog by Mia Bennett

Russia:  Russia submits claim for North Pole, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Swedish ships mapped at bottom of sea, Radio Sweden

United States:  U.S. to collect Arctic data for modern navigational charts, Alaska Dispatch News

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Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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