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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