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No-man’s area in Sea of Okhotsk may join Russian shelf next year

November 15, 2013, 16:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The area of the continental shelf claimed by Russia does not formally belong to any country

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MOSCOW, November 15, 15:33 /ITAR-TASS/. A sub-commission within the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will present recommendations to include an area in the midpart of the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia’s continental shelf next February or March, says a news release by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The area of the continental shelf claimed by Russia does not formally belong to any country. The claim is based on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that allows to expand the 200-mile state economic zone, if the area in question is a natural extension of the continental edge. The previous attempt failed in 2001. Now Russia has coupled its request with the results of profound geological research and, moreover, persuaded Japan not to impede the process. Geological exploration has shown the area is rich in hydrocarbons, minerals, metals and other mineral resources.

Once the Commission approves these recommendations, the legal procedure may be deemed completed, the news release goes.

The area of 52,000 square kilometres is “Ali-Baba’s cave” of natural resources that would grant Russia great opportunities, Russian Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Sergey Donskoy said. Including the enclave in the Russian self would give Russia exclusive rights to use its subsoil and seabed resources, including crab and ostraceans, as well as extend Russian jurisdiction to the issues of extraction, security, and environmental protection in the enclave, he added. This will also mean that the Sea of Okhotsk will be recognized by the international community as Russia’s internal sea.

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