Iceland Calls for End to 'Cold War' Tension over Arctic

MOSCOW (Dow Jones Newswires), Sep. 22, 2010

Iceland's president called Wednesday for an end to "Cold War" tensions over the Arctic as nations with competing claims to the region met in Moscow.

"Countries shouldn't discuss territorial claims against each other, but engage in dialogue," President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson said, the
ITAR-TASS news agency reported.

"The Cold War times, when the Arctic was a region of tension, have passed," he added.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the two-day Arctic Forum, which opened in Moscow Wednesday.

Delegates from Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States are at odds over how to divide up the Arctic seabed.

It is thought to hold 90 billion barrels of oil and 30% of the world's untapped gas resources, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is due to speak at the forum Thursday.

Grimsson was due to meet Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for talks at his Gorki residence outside Moscow, due to start at 1200 GMT Wednesday.

The five Arctic nations are racing to gather evidence to support their claims amid recent reports by U.S. researchers who warn that global
warming could open up the region, leaving it ice-free by 2030.

Russia alarmed its Arctic neighbors when it planted a flag on the ocean floor under the North Pole in 2007 in a symbolic staking of its claim over the region.

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