Fighting over the Arctic

In the end of January Security Council’s new strategy of development of Arctic regions will be made public in Russia. Its main objective is participation in partition of natural recourses of the Arctic Ocean.

However the USA are also not going to refuse their claims for Arctic regions. The President George Bush has published the instruction which contains the order to the Senate to ratify the international Law of the Sea Convention according to which the USA will participate in partition of Arctic regions with other countries in the nearest future, Kommersant business daily reports.

Arctic region is a strategic value for Russia, according to Dmitry Medvedev’s statement made in September of last year, and in the 21st century it should become the resource base of the country.

Scientists consider that the continental shelf of the Arctic can contain about 20 per cent of world's reserves of hydrocarbons which are the main components of oil. Besides, on shelves of Barents and Kara seas unique gas deposits were found. Moreover the local fishing industry provides 15 per cent of total amounts of fish production in Russia.

Extreme importance of development of this region in the context of national safety strategy does not exclude use of military force in solving of the arising problems in the conditions of competitive struggle for resources in Arctic.

The USA are also ready to fight for Arctic to the victorious end. As the document signed by Bush says, “the USA have wide and fundamental national interests in the Arctic region”. These interests mention such strategically important spheres, as antimissile defence, strategic restraint, and marine operations on safety maintenance.

In the document it’s underlined that “the USA also have basic interests of internal security. Prevention of terrorist attacks and criminal or hostile actions which could increase vulnerability of the USA for terrorism in the Arctic region are among the state’s objectives”. However in the American document it is marked that the US plan to achieve their goals peacefully.

Until now the USA remains the last Arctic country which has not yet ratified Law of the Sea Convention. That interrupts international partition of the Arctic region. In May of last year five coastal countries of the Arctic Ocean – Russia, the USA, Canada, Norway and Denmark – have agreed to begin negotiations about partition of Arctic regions on the basis of existing conventions and have decided not to accept any new documents so far.

The Senate has been objecting joining the Convention for a long time as it might deprive the USA an independent choice of the strategy of development of Arctic regions. Non-alignment to the international Convention theoretically could allow the American Congress to accept the law proclaiming the North Pole their territory, Kommersant business daily reports. Now it is supposed that the instruction published by George Bush will be now ratified by the new President Barak Obama.