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Breitbart: US rejects Russia flag-planting in Arctic

Aug 2 04:18 PM US/Eastern
       
Washington on Thursday said Russia’s move to plant its flag on the seabed under the North Pole has no bearing on claims for rights to the mineral-rich subaquatic territory.

“I’m not sure of whether they’ve put a metal flag, a rubber flag or a bed sheet on the ocean floor,” said State Department spokesman Tom Casey, in response to news that Russia had deposited a banner of rust-proof titanium as a symbol of Moscow’s claim over a vast expanse of the Arctic floor.

“Either way, it doesn’t have any legal standing or effect on this claim,” he said.

The spokesman added: “It certainly to us doesn’t represent any kind of substantive claim, and I certainly haven’t heard anyone else make the argument that it does.”

The US reaction came after six Russian explorers successfully made the descent to the ocean floor in two Mir mini-submarines to plant the flag.

Billed as the first successful expedition to reach the ocean floor under the North Pole, the explorers hope to establish that a section of seabed as an extension of Russia’s landmass.

But that claim has been greeted with derision in much of the world, including in Washington.

Casey noted that Russia’s claim is based on its role as a signatory to the Law of the Sea Treaty, and observed that the United State has not signed that agreement.

Even so, he said, even under that accord, “I don’t think that … whether they went and spray-painted a flag of Russia on those particular ridges is going to make one iota of difference,” Casey said.

Copyright AFP 2007
 
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070802201835.is0314di&show_article=1

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