Russian expansion on Arctic shelf does not overlap with other countries' interests - Khramov

Russia's moves to expand its borders in the Arctic along the continental shelf almost do not overlap with other countries' zones of interest, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Denis Khramov told Interfax.

Russia's moves to expand its borders in the Arctic along the continental shelf almost do not overlap with other countries' zones of interest, Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Denis Khramov told Interfax.

Khramov also heads the Russian delegation on the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS).

'If one were to draw other countries' potential zones of interest on a map of the Arctic, you could see that the boundaries of the shelf declared by Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and, likely, the U.S. (if they would join the convention), actually do not overlap. And if they do overlap, then within small sectors,' he said.

Khramov said that only Russia has sent an official application for shelf expansion in the Arctic. Accordingly, there is currently not another country whose application could overlap with Russia's goals.

'If we are talking specifics, then I'll remind [you] that we have already resolved territorial issues with Norway. We are holding two-sided talks with Canada and are not against the country's application to the UN commission. Canada's application does not even contain exact coordinates of sections in the Arctic that interest it; it [the application] only contains detailed justification concerning the Atlantic. Canada has not yet specified anything about the Arctic except for its intentions to submit such an application in the future,' Khramov said.

Russia has also agreed on an approach with Denmark, which is only in the preparatory stage of an application on the Arctic, he said, adding that in the approach, each country is not against the other applying. They are also required to resolve all two-sided issues at a later time, Khramov said.

The U.S. has not even ratified the convention (ratification of the UN Convention on the law of the Sea opens up opportunities for countries to apply for shelves of neutral waters), he said. The U.S. has long-term plans of ratifying the convention and applying for the shelf in the Arctic. 'As we understand, they have not even set this task before themselves for the near future,' Khramov said.

Khramov said Russia hoped its borders would expand by 1.2 million square kilometers, the resource potential of which is around 5 billion tonnes of reference fuel. For Russia, the Arctic application is a serious priority, he said, adding that Russia is working as hard as possible on this document.

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