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Canada Plans Two Military Facilities In Arctic

The "Russia" ice-breaker plies the Arctic (file photo) (ITAR-TASS) August 11, 2007 -- Canada says it plans to build two new military facilities in the Arctic, including a deep-water port and training center for Canadian military personnel.

The announcement on August 10 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper came a week after Russian explorers using submarines symbolically staked a claim to the region by planting a flag at a depth of 4,200 meters, beneath the ice of the North Pole.

The Russian effort has been regarded as a move to help advance Russia's claims to oil, gas, and mineral resources on the Arctic seabed.

Under international law, none of the surrounding Arctic states -- Russia, the United States, Canada, Norway, or Denmark -- owns the North Pole or the Arctic Ocean.

Sovereignty rights are guided by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Under international law, Russia, Canada, Norway, the United States, and Denmark currently each control 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zones in the Arctic Ocean extending from their coastlines.

But the law also allows a country to file a claim on additional territory beyond its exclusive economic zone if it can define the outer limits of its continental shelf -- in the Russian case the Lomonosov Ridge.

Moscow said the expedition would help prove that the North Pole is a geological extension of Russia.

(with material from agency reports)