Norway and Russia signed the treaty on maritime delimitation and cooperation in the Barents Sea and the Arctic Ocean in Murmansk. It was signed by Foreign Ministers Jonas Gahr Støre and Sergei Lavrov in the presence of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and President Dmitry Medvedev.
“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 Prime Minister Stoltenberg.
The treaty will also ensure the continuation of the extensive and fruitful Norwegian-Russian fisheries cooperation, and governs cooperation on the exploitation of any petroleum deposits that extend across the delimitation line.
“The treaty will strengthen our neighbourly 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.
Maritime delimitation between Norway and Russia in this area involved a number of wide-ranging and complex questions. This has been a complicated and time-consuming process. The parties have reached a solution that is based on modern principles of international law. The parties took a comprehensive approach during the negotiations and therefore discussed issues such as fisheries and petroleum activities in addition to the course of the delimitation line.
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.
The treaty must be approved by the Norwegian Storting and the Russian Duma before it can enter into force.