Thursday, February 11, 2016

Russia presented evidence to UN to expand Arctic borders by 1.2 million sq km.

Russia presented evidence to UN to expand Arctic borders by 1.2 million sq km.(RBTH).

Russia has submitted evidence to a UN commission that the southern part of the Gakkel Ridge and Podvodnikov Basin, as well a the Lomonosov Ridge, the Mendeleyev Ridge and Chukotka Plateau, are a continuation of the Russian continental shelf, which means the country's borders in the Arctic could expand by 1.2 million square km.

The presentation was made by Natural Resources Minister Sergei Donskoi, who said Russia has done a great deal of research and collected exhaustive data proving its rights to expand its borders in the Arctic. More than ten years of work went into preparing the materials.

"All of the gathered data confirm the continental nature of the Lomonosov Ridge, the Mendeleyev-Alpha elevation, Chukotka Plateau, as well as the uninterrupted continuation of these elements from the shallow water shelf of Eurasia. This is indicated by the consistency of the sedimentary cover, elements of the floor, as well as the general continuity and consistency of deep layers of the earth's crust and the absence of transverse faults of a shifting nature in the area of the juncture of the Lomonosov Ridge and the Eurasian continent," Donskoi said after the presentation in New York.

"In general, the areas that Russia is claiming cover the geomorphic shelf of Russia's Arctic peripheral seas, part of the Eurasian basin (Nansen and Amundsen basins, Gakkel Ridge) and the central part of the Amerasian Basin consisting of the Makarov Basin and the complex of Central Arctic submarine elevations. The application for establishing the external borders of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean is based on the scientific understanding that the component parts of the complex of Central Arctic underwater elevations have a continental nature and are part of the submarine rises that are a natural component of the continental margin," the minister said.

No decisions on the Russian applications should be expected this year. Donskoi said the UN commission's review of the application could take two to four years.

Russia's main rival in delineating boundaries in the Arctic is Denmark, which wants to prove that almost all of the territory that Russia is claiming is part of its continental shelf.

Donskoi said that the areas presented in Denmark's application as belonging to the continental shelf north of Greenland significantly overlap the areas included in the Russian application. This includes the area of the Arctic Ocean near the pole and part of Lomonosov Ridge. There might be similar overlaps in Canada's application.

Russia has held consultations with Denmark and Canada on this issue and reached an understanding that the three countries do not object to the commission considering one another's applications and making its recommendations.

The final delineation of Russia's continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean will be made after the commission makes its recommendations on the Russian application.

Donskoi also said that the commission has received three verbal notes from Canada, Denmark and the United States through the UN Secretary General's Office. "None of the verbal notes contain objections against the consideration of this partially revised Russian application by the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf," the minister said. Read the full story here.

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