Monday, May 04, 2009

TROUBLE AHEAD?

"Norway's foreign minister on Tuesday called for peaceful cooperation in the Arctic as the region's five bordering countries vie for potentially lucrative natural resources. "High North, low tension," Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said prior to the opening of an international conference in the northern Norwegian town of Tromsoe on the Arctic's melting ice. "We will as responsible governments and coastal states be able to manage the challenges and opportunities of this region without gliding into conflict and negative competition," he told reporters. The US Geological Survey says the Arctic region could hold 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas.The resources are expected to become increasingly accessible as the Arctic ice cap melts.The race for the riches -- which are still technically difficult to exploit -- has been accompanied by rising militarisation in the region. NATO has announced plans to play a growing role in the region, and Russia also plans to deploy military units there.Territorial claims in the Arctic came to the fore in 2007 when Russia planted its flag on the seabed some 4,000 meters (13,100 feet) beneath the North Pole."
(Yahoo News, 28 April) RD

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