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    International Arctic Forum opens in Moscow

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    World's leading experts on the Arctic and prominent politicians will gather on Wednesday in the Russian capital to discuss the political, economic and environmental issues affecting the Arctic region.

    World's leading experts on the Arctic and prominent politicians will gather on Wednesday in the Russian capital to discuss the political, economic and environmental issues affecting the Arctic region.

    The Russian Geographical Society hosts the forum, entitled "The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue", on September 22-23. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who heads the Russian Geographical Society Board of Trustees, is expected to attend.

    "The International Arctic Forum in Russia will allow us to stimulate domestic dialogue on the issues concerning the situation in the Arctic region, and to present the world community with a picture of the region's future as it is seen by the Russian experts," President of the Russian Geographical Society and Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said on the eve of the event.

    The forum was initially scheduled for April 2010, but had to be postponed following the eruption of the Eyjafjallajokull volcano in Iceland, which prevented many international participants from coming to Moscow.

    RIA Novosti is the official media partner of the forum.

    Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway are seeking to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, which is believed to contain rich oil and gas deposits. The vast hydrocarbon deposits will become more accessible as rising global temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice.

    Russia first laid claim to the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge under the Arctic Ocean in 2001, but the United Nations demanded more conclusive evidence.

    Under the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, signed by Russia in 1997, if a country can prove its continental shelf extends beyond the 200-mile limit, it can claim a right to more of the ocean floor.

    If Russia proves that the Lomonosov Ridge and the Mendeleev Ridge are the extension of the Russian continental shelf, the country will receive the right to the additional 1.2 million square kilometers in the Arctic and to the development of huge oil and gas fields in the triangle between the Chukotka Peninsula, Murmansk and the North Pole. The adjusted Russian claim for the Arctic shelf is expected to be prepared by 2013.

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

    In late July, the Russian research vessel Akademik Fedorov left Arkhangelsk for a three-month expedition to the Arctic to ascertain the borders of Russia's continental shelf.

     

    MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti)

     

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