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Germany FM warns over race for Arctic resources

Everyone wants a slice of this pie.
by Staff Writers
Ny Alesund, Norway (AFP) Aug 28, 2007
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday warned that no nation should break the law to get its hands on the natural energy resources of the Arctic.

"I very much believe that everybody should respect international law," Steinmeier told reporters as he visited the research station at Ny Alesund on Spitzbergen, a Norwegian island in the Arctic Ocean.

"The North Pole is not a law-free zone, there are international accords which must be respected by all nations who have interests here," he added.

"If everybody sticks to the rules, there will be no conflict."

A Russian submarine expedition earlier this month planted a flag beneath the North Pole, and Moscow now claims that the seabed there is an extension of Russia's land mass.

"Spectacular exploits mean very little," said Steinmeier, who was accompanied by his Norwegian counterpart Jonas Gahr Stoere.

The Arctic Sea bed is thought to contain massive oil and gas reserves and access is becoming easier as global warming causes the ice caps of the North Pole to melt.

Steinmeier observed that the glaciers on Spitzbergen were melting and said the island should serve as an "early warning" of the damage being inflicted by climate change.

He warned that the phenomenon would fuel territorial conflicts as the race for the Arctic's resources heats up.

Russia's expedition has caused conflicting claims over Arctic territory by numerous countries, including Canada, Denmark and the United States, to grow louder.

Steinmeier's visit to Spitzbergen is part of a fact-finding trip on climate change and clean energy which will also take him to the US state of California.

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Russian Oil Export Duty Could Rise To 250 Dollars Per Ton
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 28, 2007
Duty on Russian oil exports could rise by up to $26, reaching $248-250 per metric ton as of October 1, in keeping with world market trends, a Finance Ministry official said Monday. The Russian government adjusts export duty on crude and petroleum products every two months, depending on changes in the Urals blend price on world markets.

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