From: Reuters
Published April 23, 2008 03:53 PM

Ministers to discuss Arctic claims in Greenland

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Denmark has invited high-ranking officials from Norway, Russia, the United States and Canada to meet in Greenland next month to discuss competing claims to the Arctic, it said on Wednesday.

Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moller and his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Stoere will join representatives from other countries bordering the Arctic Ocean on May 27-29 in Ilulissat, a town in the Danish autonomous territory.

The countries plan to discuss territorial claims in the Arctic, as well as cooperation on accidents and oil spills and native peoples' issues, the Danish Foreign Ministry said. They expect to issue a declaration at the end of the meeting.

Countries around the Arctic Ocean are rushing to stake out claims on the Polar Basin seabed as a warming climate could ease access for drilling for oil and mineral resources there. The amount of ice covering the Arctic shrank to its smallest on record in September, U.S. satellite data has shown.

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Russia sought to claim the North Pole last summer by planting a flag on the seabed beneath it, while Denmark sent an icebreaker to collect data which would support extending its territory beyond the established 200 nautical miles from Greenland.

(Reporting by Gelu Sulugiuc; Editing by Chloe Fussell.)

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