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Russia and Canada to refer Arctic dispute to U.N.

Russia and Canada to refer Arctic dispute to U.N.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Canadian counterpart Lawrence Cannon met today about competing claims over the Lomonosov Ridge, an underwater rdige of continental crust under the Arctic Ocean claimed by both territories and pledged to let the United Nations resolve the dispute

The dispute has intensified amid growing evidence that global warming is shrinking polar ice, opening up new shipping lanes and new resource development opportunities.

“We will submit our data on the Lomonosov Ridge and we are confident that our case will prevail backed by scientific evidence,” Cannon said at a news conference after the talks.

Lavrov said Russia also is working to submit additional data that will persuade the U.N. of the validity of Moscow’s claim.

“They should provide a scientific proof that it’s an extension of our continental shelf,” he said.

Moscow first submitted its claim in 2001 to the United Nations, but it was sent back for lack of evidence. Russia then dramatically staked its claim to the region by dropping a canister containing the Russian flag on the ocean floor from a small submarine at the North Pole in 2007.

Fears of armed conflict in the Arcitc may indeed by overblown, but it’s hard to deny that the politics of the region are getting more interesting. Lavrov also warned that Russia would be no more toleratn of NATO encroachment on its Northern frontier than the South: 

“I don’t think it would be right for NATO to assume the right to determine … how make decisions in the Arctic,”