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Russia to submit new Arctic shelf boundary data to UN

MOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is to submit to the UN new data on the boundaries of its continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean, an ambassador at large said Monday.

"To bring to a close matters relating to the Arctic Ocean, we need to convince 21 members of the UN commission on the continental shelf that sections of the sea bed...are of a continental nature and are a continuation of the continent," said Anton Vasilyev, who is also a high-ranking official on the Arctic Council.

High Arctic territories, seen as the key to huge untapped natural resources, have increasingly been at the center of mounting disputes between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark in recent years as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice.

President Dmitry Medvedev said in September at a Russian Security Council session that the extent of the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic should be defined as soon as possible.

Medvedev also said the Arctic shelf was a guarantee of Russia's energy security and that the Arctic should become a resource base for Russia this century, adding that "about 20% of Russia's GDP and 22% of Russian exports are produced" in the area.

Russia has undertaken two Arctic expeditions - to the Mendeleyev underwater chain in 2005 and to the Lomonosov ridge in the summer of 2007 - to support its territorial claims in the region.