Only international law can resolve Arctic issues

arcticAfter sitting down for talks with Russia over the inevitable battle for the vast oil and gas reserves lying under the Arctic Sea, Denmark has concluded that only international law can ultimately resolve the issues of ownership. Five nations lie along the Arctic coastline – Russia, Norway, Denmark, Canada, and the US – and all have competing claims to the area.

Russia has been taking bold steps lately to push the issue into action; first by planting its flag under the sea at the North Pole, and then by increasing its naval patrols of the region. Russia recently claimed it would respond swiftly to any attempt to militarise the Arctic.

“All problems in the Arctic, including climate change and reducing ice cover, can successfully be considered and resolved within specially created international organisations such as the Arctic Council,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at a news briefing after meeting his Danish counterpart in Moscow, according to SIKUnews.

In 1996, the Arctic Council was established by the five boundary countries plus Iceland and the Faroe Islands. Last May they met in Greenland and agreed to follow UN convention protocols concerning the Arctic. But the overlapping claims of territory that lie just outside international water boundaries mean there will be plenty of confrontations as soon as oil and gas exploration begins in earnest under the seabed.