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Officials from the five nations with Arctic coastlines have been meeting in Greenland for talks on the territorial status of the polar region. According to geologists, 25% of the world's oil and gas reserves could lie buried under the ice. The row over exploration rights intensified last year after Russia planted a flag on the sea-bed at the North Pole.
Russia, Canada, Denmark, Norway and the U.S. all claim rights over the Arctic. All own a part of the region, but each is vying for the area that lies beyond.
The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea has the ultimate say over issues concerning continental shelf borders. It says a country’s shoreline can be extended if the sea bed is a continuous part of the continent.
Last year Russia became the first country to plant its flag at the bottom of the Arctic Sea at the geographical North Pole.