05:19 GMT16 January 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Canada has submitted an application to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) to determine the outer limits of the country's continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean and confirm Ottawa's rights over the designated area and its natural resources, the Canadian Foreign Ministry said.

    According to the application, Canada's continental shelf covers around 1.2 million square kilometres (over 460,000 square miles).

    "After more than a decade’s worth of scientific and legal work to determine the limits of Canada's undersea landmass in the Arctic, Canada today filed a 2,100‑page submission with the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf at United Nations headquarters in New York", a statement, published on the ministry's official website late on Thursday, said.

    The ministry noted that the whole process could take another 10 years to complete, depending on when the CLCS would start considering the application. It added that some more time might be needed to determine boundaries in those areas where different countries' continental shelves overlap.

    "Canada is committed to furthering its leadership in the Arctic. Defining our continental shelf is vital to ensuring our sovereignty and to serving the interests of all people, including Indigenous peoples, in the Arctic. Today's submission is a major step toward securing legal and international recognition of the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean", Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland stated.

    READ MORE: Speed Demon: Arctic Glacier Goes from 60 Feet Per Year to 60 Feet Per Day

    After the boundaries of Canada's continental shelf are officially recognized by the commission, the country will be entitled to manage natural resources in the area.

    "It does not represent a political boundary. As it is based on science, the submission overlaps in some areas with the submissions of other Arctic Ocean coastal states. All Arctic Ocean coastal states have committed to resolving continental shelf overlaps in a peaceful and orderly manner in accordance with international law", the statement said.

    According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the continental shelf of all coastal countries extends 200 nautical miles from the baseline. At the same time, some nations can have an extended, or outer continental shelf, if it is a prolongation of their land territories.


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