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Denmark advocates North Pole conference

Denmark and Greenland have called on the United States, Norway, Canada and Russia to hold a conference in May 2008 to go through their rival claims to the North Pole, The Associated Press reported citing the statement of Denmark’s government.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller announced that he and Greenland’s Premier Hans Enoksen sent respective invitations to foreign ministers of “all five Arctic superpowers.” The conference could be convened May 27-29 in Illulissat, Greenland, according to the media. “We’ve seen different nationalistic manifestations and disputes,” The Associated Press quoted Moeller as saying. “We have to discuss ways on how we should behave toward each other and how we should treat the polar region.”

The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea of 1982 enables the states to prove their claims for ten years after ratifying the convention. All Arctic nations but the United States have ratified the document. The price of the Arctic question is trillions of dollars, so one of the prime concerns today is to choose the right holder for the area of over 1 million square km of the ocean shelf from Chukotka to the Kola Peninsula. The access to its vast resources of crude oil and gas is improving thanks to the melting ice.

Formally however, no state owns the Arctic water, but the bidders may stake claims, endeavoring to prove that the shelf extends their territories. The race for the Arctic soil gained momentum August 2, when two mini-subs of Russia planted the country’s flag of titanium alloy under the North Pole and explorers took samples of soil from the ocean depth of 4 kilometers. (