In Murmansk on Wednesday 15th September 2010 Norway and the Russian Federation signed a treaty concerning the maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. The disputed territory covered 175,000 square km (67,600 sq miles), an area mainly in the Barents Sea between proven petroleum reserves on the Russian and Norwegian sides.

The treaty marks the end of a long process that started in 1970. The breakthrough in the negotiations was made public during President Medvedev’s visit to Norway on 27 April this year, when the Norwegian and Russian foreign ministers signed a joint statement announcing that the two countries’ negotiating delegations had reached preliminary agreement on delimitation.

At a news conference President Dmitri A. Medvedev of Russia said: “I believe this will open the way for many joint projects, especially in the area of energy” . The Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said it showed good will in the face of rising international anxiety over who controls the Arctic seabed, which by some estimates contains a quarter of the world’s undiscovered fossil fuels.

In the treaty two Annexes are included.
Annex I sets rules about fisheries matters. According to article 4 Annex I the Norwegian-Russian Joint Fisheries Commission shall continue to consider improved monitoring and control measures with respect to jointly managed fish stocks.

Annex II deals with the Unitisation Agreement on commercial exploitation of transboundary hydrocarbon deposits in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean. Article 1 under 11 obligates each Party to ensure inspection of hydrocarbon installations located on its continental shelf and hydrocarbon activities carried out thereon. In case of a disagreement about the Unitisation Agreement in article 1 Annex "Each Party shall appoint one arbitrator, and the two arbitrators so appointed shall elect a third arbitrator, who shall be the Chairperson. The Chairperson shall not be a national of or habitually reside in Norway or the Russian Federation. If either Party fails to appoint an arbitrator within three months of a request to do so, either Party may request that the President of the International Court of Justice make the appointment. The same procedure shall apply if, within one month of the appointment of the second arbitrator, the third arbitrator has not been elected." (article 3 under 2 Annex II).

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