Urges respect for law in Arctic

Denmark’s Foreign Minister Per Stig Møller this week says he expects countries around the North Pole to respect international laws when settling territorial claims in the Arctic. Next week the Arctic costal states meet at Greenland to discuss the rules that apply to the Arctic Ocean.


Per Stig Møller told reporters in Copenhagen this week that he hopes states with competing claims can resolve their differences in a responsible manner at the up-coming Greenland meeting.

Also the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Jonas Gahr Støre, highlighted the importance of international law, and particularly of the law of the sea, when he this week presented the Foreign Policy to the Norwegian Parliament.

Last year, Russian scientists planted a flag on the seabed under the North Pole ice during an expedition that heated up controversy over an area.

- Whoever plants flags up there doesn’t change anything. … South Africa can also plant a flag, Per Stig Møller said interviewed by the Associated Press.

Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said:

- The much discussed planting of the Russian flag on the seabed at the North Pole, or wherever it actually was, has given some people the impression that the Arctic is an area that is not governed by law. But we can state quite confidently that the law of the sea governs rights and responsibilities in the Arctic Ocean as well. This is not a free-for-all.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the comprehensive multilateral regime that applies in the Arctic. A UN panel is to decide Arctic control by 2020.