On Sept. 15, Norway and Russia signed a treaty defining the maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean, marking the conclusion of 40 years of negotiations.
The treaty governs cooperation on the exploitation of any petroleum deposits that extend across the delimitation line. Because fishing has traditionally played an important role for both nations’ coastal areas, the treaty also sets forth rules regarding fisheries cooperation.
“This is a historic milestone. The treaty resolves what for several decades remained the most important outstanding issue between Norway and Russia. We are pleased that we have now established the maritime boundary between Norway and Russia in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.
The treaty was crafted in accordance with international law, specifically the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, dated December 10, 1982. “The treaty will strengthen our neighborly relations with Russia and will enhance predictability and stability in the area. It sends an important signal to the rest of the world: The Arctic is a peaceful region where any issues that arise are resolved in accordance with international law. It reflects the parties’ active role and responsibility as coastal states for securing stability and strengthening cooperation in the Arctic Ocean,” said Mr. Stoltenberg.
Negotiations stretch back to 1970. The breakthrough was made public during Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s visit to Norway on April 27, 2010, when the Norwegian and Russian foreign ministers signed a joint statement announcing that the two countries’ negotiating delegations had reached preliminary agreement defining the boundaries.
The treaty was signed by foreign ministers Jonas Gahr Støre of Norway and Sergei Lavrov of Russia in the presence of Prime Minister Stoltenberg and President Medvedev, and must be approved by the Norwegian Storting and the Russian Duma before it takes effect.