For decades there was a boundary dispute between Norway and Russia, where Norway favored the Median Line and Russia favored a meridian based sector. A compromise treaty announced 27th of April 2010 settled the border in the approximate middle of these two stances. The border, which cuts across an area thought to be rich in oil and gas, has been contested for decades. That has left the 175,000 square kilometer big area in the Barents Sea unexploited since the 1970s due to the border dispute.
Now, Dmitri Medvedev has sent the Treaty to the State Duma just two days after the Norwegian Parliament ratified the Barents Sea border deal. The presidential package of documents pertaining to the Maritime Delimitation in the Barents Sea and Arctic Oceans was Thursday sent over to the Russian Parliament. President Medvedev writes in the documents that the Treaty with Norway creates positive political and legal conditions for deepening cooperation in sectors as fishing and joint exploitation of transboundary petroleum deposits.
The words from the Russian President are similar to the words from the Norwegian parliamentarians debating the deal last Tuesday, underlining the need to speed up the mapping of petroleum resources in the Barents Sea. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre is stated that the debate in the Norwegian Parliament on the delimitation deal confirms that there is a balanced agreement that will further strengthen the Norwegian-Russian cooperation. Støre signed the delimitation agreement with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Murmansk last October. The Norwegian Parliament voted unanimously in favour of the maritime delimitation line with Russia.
With the recommendations from President Medvedev, and earlier strong support from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, it is believed that the State Duma will ratify the Treaty sometime soon. The date for debate is not yet announced, but President Medvedev writes in his notes to the State Duma that the ratification of the Treaty should in the accordance with arrangements reached at the highest level be synchronised in both countries parliaments.
Russian Minster Vladimir Putin has said that the deal will strengthen the spirit of trust in the Arctic region, create additional opportunities for the development of joint economic projects, for a responsible and environmentally safe development of the natural riches of the Arctic.
The agreement splits disputed area into two equally big parts and clarifies the maritime borders between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea and Arctic Oceans.
Source: Barents Observer