Russian, US expertise in Antarctica should be used to ease current tensions - Lavrov | Eurasia Diary -

6 July, Monday

Russian, US expertise in Antarctica should be used to ease current tensions - Lavrov

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The experience gained by Russia and the United States in reaching agreements, which helped avoid international tensions around Antarctica, should be used in solving current conflicts, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Rossiya’1 channel on Saturday, Eurasia Diary reports citing Tass News.

"Yes, some countries, namely the UK, Norway, Chile, Australia and New Zealand, did make claims on parts of the continent [Antarctica - TASS] and the surrounding waters of the Southern Ocean, which are called sectors," the minister said.

Nevertheless, according to Lavrov, "the Soviet Union and the United States made a joint statement at the time about their categorical non-recognition of any claims and about disagreement with Antarctica’s division into sectors, and for preserving Antarctica as the mankind’s shared heritage."

The Russian foreign minister pointed out that the attempts to divide Antarctica would erupt into serious confrontation between states.

"Eventually, everything was resolved peacefully," he continued. "Moreover, I believe that this experience should be used in [solving] modern conflicts."

Lavrov emphasized that the Antarctic Treaty (the 1959 agreement ensuring the use of Antarctica for peaceful purposes only as the heritage of the mankind - TASS) will be in effect.

"I do not think that whoever is in the mood to derail this treaty. We can see no indications that the treaty will be challenged," he said.

In the first half of the 20th century, some states announced their territorial claims to Antarctica. Among them were the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and Japan. In some cases, the sectors which the countries vied for overlapped. The Antarctic Treaty, which was adopted in 1959 and entered into force in 1961, prevented further rivalry by enshrining Antarctica’s demilitarized status and its use for exclusively peaceful purposes.

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