BarentsObserver.com , September 25, 2008
A Norwegian researcher believes that Norway and Russia are about to make an agreement on border disputes in the Arctic, which have lasted for more than 30 year old .
- Russia will agree upon Norwegian jurisdiction in the Svalbard fish protection area, if Norway accepts to divide the disputed area in the Barents Sea further to the west, says High North expert Willy Østreng says to Norwegian Newspaper FiskeribladetFiskaren.
In Østereng's opinion there are several recent indications that the jurisdiction of Svalbard is seen in relations to the border discussions in the disputed area of the Barents Sea. One of the indications is that Russian authorities have not protested on the two recent arrests of Russian vessels in the protection zone around Svalbard. Earlier, Russians authorities responded quickly and hard to such arrest.
The disputed area of the Barents Sea is 176 000 square kilometres. Russian and Norwegian authorities have come to an agreement of how to divide 80 percent of the area. It is the last 20 percent, in which the promising Fedinski-structure is found, which have led to the dispute. Russian seismic surveys in the 80ties showed that this structure probably hides large reserves of petroleum.
Østereng believes that an exchange deal between Norway and Russia in the Arctic is about to be agreed upon. If Norwegian claims in the Svalbard zone is accepted, Russian claims in the disputed zone will be accepted.