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Summit tackles tension over Arctic exploration

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Summit tackles tension over Arctic exploration


How to avoid a new kind of “cold war” breaking out over Arctic oil and gas reserves – that is the focus of an international summit in Moscow.

Competition for territorial rights is intensifying, with melting polar ice opening up the possibility of new exploration.

Russia, the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway are all making claims to Arctic territories, where a third of the world’s undiscovered oil and gas is said to be.

Moscow says it is confident of winning UN approval for its claims.

Alexander Bedritsky, the Russian presidential adviser on climate change, said: “We defend our interests in the Arctic with all of the civilised instruments provided by international agreements. And I don’t think it will escalate into a confrontation.”

Three years ago Moscow dropped a flag onto the ocean floor in a symbolic staking of its claim.

Russia claims it has a right to a larger slice of polar territory, arguing that the ocean floor under the Arctic is a continuation of its continental shelf.

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