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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov

    Russian foreign minister to start Canada tour with Arctic talks

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    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend an Arctic Five ministerial meeting on Monday as part of his two-day visit to Canada.

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend an Arctic Five ministerial meeting on Monday as part of his two-day visit to Canada.

    The agenda of his visit also includes a G8 foreign ministers meeting in Gatineau on March 30.

    The Arctic Five, which comprises Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway, will meet in Chelsea, north of Ottawa, to discuss continental shelf disputes, climate change, preservation of Arctic eco-systems, and cooperation in the development of Arctic resources.

    "Moscow expects the meeting to continue the discussion of Russia's initiative of broader Arctic cooperation," Foreign Ministry's spokesman Andrei Nesterenko said on the eve of Lavrov's visit to Canada.

    Arctic territories have been at the center of geopolitical wrangling between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice and make hydrocarbon deposits under the Arctic Ocean increasingly accessible.

    Under international law, each Arctic Circle country has a 322-kilometer (200-mile) exclusive economic zone in the Arctic Ocean.

    However, under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, if a country can show its continental shelf extends beyond the 200-mile limit, it can claim a right to more of the ocean floor.

    All five Arctic nations have put forward claims on overlapping parts of the region, which is estimated to hold over 25% of global oil and gas reserves.

    Russia has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov Ridge in the summer of 2007 - to support its territorial claims in the region.

    It first claimed the territory in 2001, but the United Nations demanded more conclusive evidence.

    Russia has said it will invest some 1.5 billion rubles ($50 million) in defining the extent of its continental shelf in the Arctic in 2010.

    CHELSEA (Canada), March 29 (RIA Novosti)

     

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