UN body defers action on Myanmar`s territorial waters claims
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 11:54
Dhaka: A UN panel has suspended Myanmar's territorial waters claim in the Bay of Bengal in a row with Bangladesh, which says the area lies within its maritime boundary.

"The UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) decided to suspend Yangon's claim after a hearing on the submission by Myanmar authorities and the protest notes of Bangladesh," a foreign office statement said Tuesday night.

"The commission decided to defer further consideration of the submission and the notes verbal until such time as the submission is next in line for consideration," it said.

Officials said Myanmar submitted its outer-continental-shelf claim on December 16, 2008 to the CLCS and the presentation on the submission was held on August 24 this year before the UN body.

They said despite a provision for constituting a sub-commission to further hear the claim, the CLCS decided not to form it at this stage considering the Bangladesh's protest note, which was also communicated to the UN chief.

"Consequently, further action on Myanmar's claim on the outer-limits of the continental shelf remains suspended," the statement said.

The development came days after Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes said that Bangladesh recently lodged objections against Indian and Myanmar's claim over Continental Shelf.

The statement said the commission took the decision to take into consideration any further developments that might occur during the intervening period, including provisional arrangements of a practical nature provided in the rules.

Experts and officials earlier said the outer line of the continental shelf which was claimed by Yangon was formed with the sedimentary rocks from Bangladesh, which only could prove the "natural prolongation" of the continental shelf.

Bangladesh is in a dispute over the inner lines of the maritime boundary that prompted it to seek last month the UN international arbitration in line with the provisions of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said the decision was taken as the ongoing discussions with India and Myanmar could not yield the expected results in the past three decades.

Bangladesh opted for UN arbitration as India and Myanmar started developing their offshore resources while officials said New Delhi and Yangon formally protested the Dhaka's decision to award offshore block-5, 10 and 11 to the International Oil Companies for carrying out hydrocarbon exploration.

Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty last month said New Delhi expected that Bangladesh's decision to seek UN arbitration could settle the tripartite maritime dispute while Myanmar's ambassador here said Dhaka's move "disappointed" Yangon.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009, 11:54

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