The Grey Zone: The Disputed Area In The Barents Sea Is Once Again A "Hot" Topic. Why?

1450 words - 6 pages

In January 1978 a newly defined sea area in the north in between Norway and Russia was created. The area got the name "Grey Zone", and has a rather complicated and interesting history until this date. The Grey Zone agreement was controversial and comprehended the ongoing struggle between the USSR and the western world, involving the US. I will describe this by looking at some key points, mostly concerning how history shaped this area and additionally its status today. As the essay develops I will furthermore look into some questions which help define the process. Why were the political struggle and today's reason for an agreement not central at that time? And why is it once again topical? Was the agreement fair in the first place? Is there any near future solution?In the 1970s the relationship between the USSR, now Russia, and the US was rather tense. The Cold War between the two super-powers was ongoing, and Norway was in the middle of it all. Norway's strategic position to the USSR Naval bases in the north was central in matter of the US defence policy, and Norway was therefore strongly supported by the US. Nevertheless the area of the Grey Zone was not central in the issue of the Russian Navy's sailing pattern, neither was it substantial to their ongoing exercises. It was unconditionally a question of political power, and thereby to not give into another nation demands. Despite the fact that Norway was closely supported by the US, the USSR still had more influence throughout the negotiations. Partly by reason of their military and political power, besides the US would not risk more instability for this kind of matter.The dilemma of deciding the border structure and geographical lines was mainly concerning which kind of rules or principles to follow. The USSR had earlier stated the ownership of the north polar area after the principle of geographical sector (a line striate up to the North Pole), and claimed the same principle which goes back to the year of 1926, also to be used in this case. Norway claimed the area to be shared according to a middle-line principal, in other words, divide the area in the middle without the considerations of geographical position. In the south of Norway, The North Sea is divided after the middle-line principle between UK, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Holland and France. This is also described in the Convention of the Continental-Field from International Sea Court of 1958. The principle was introduced in 1945 after President Harry Trumann of US claimed the rights for the US Continental-Field. It all ended in the international convention of 1958 which was supposed to regulate future agreements and guide disputes from the past. Referring to Article 6 of the International Convention; "....in less special circumstances making an exception, the middle-line principle is the one to follow." However these special circumstances are not described in Article 6, this makes the case ambiguous and the lack of clarity benefits the...

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