The Russian parliament is considering ending a border agreement in the dispute with Norway over a ban on extradition to Spitsbergen. The lower house speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, told the parliament’s website on Tuesday that the State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee would study the matter and then inform the deputies. Russia and Norway are important players in the Arctic region with their wealth of raw materials.
The two countries defined their maritime boundaries in the Barents Sea in a 2010 agreement, ending a 40-year dispute. The agreement was seen at the time as a new beginning in relations between Moscow and Oslo. But since then, tensions have risen, particularly over Russia’s military offensive on Ukraine.
“No review clause”
The Norwegian Foreign Ministry called on Russia to abide by the agreement. The ministry said it does not contain a review clause. “It’s common for these kinds of border deals to go on indefinitely.”
Russia accused Norway last week of blocking the loading of a ship destined for Russian miners in Svalbard, alleging EU sanctions. The archipelago of Spitsbergen is part of Norway. However, an international treaty concluded in Paris in 1920 gives a number of countries, including Russia, the right to extract raw materials there. Before that, Russia and the Soviet Union had been mining coal there for decades.
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