Renaming of Antarctic territory to Queen Elizabeth Land entails no sovereignty rights - Moscow

Moscow stands for strict compliance with the Treaty of Antarctica and argues that the renaming of the southern part of the British Antarctic Territory as Queen Elizabeth Land does not make it a sovereign land of the UK.

"Being a founder of the 1959 Treaty of Antarctica together with the United Kingdom of the Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Russia stands for the full, unconditional and responsible observation of the provisions of this keynote international document and its fundamental goals and principles by all member countries," says a response of Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich published on the ministry Web site on Thursday.

"Proceeding from the Treaty of Antarctica 1959, the Russian Federation maintains that neither action nor activity undertaken while this treaty is valid shall give ground for making, supporting or denying any claim for territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create sovereignty rights in Antarctica," Lukashevich said.

It was reported on Dec. 22 that British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced plans to rename an area of 437,000 square kilometers of Antarctic territory as Queen Elizabeth Land.

The Treaty of Antarctica declares sovereignty of this territory: The continent cannot belong to any country. So, the Queen Elizabeth Land will appear only on British maps, the British media said.

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