Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bangladesh to Bring Maritime Dispute with Burma and India to UN

By Takaloo, Dhaka (Narinjara): Bangladesh is planning to seek a UN settlement for its maritime demarcations with Burma and India in the Bay of Bengal as the two neighbors have challenged Bangladesh's attempts at hydrocarbon exploration with overlapping charges.

"We are taking preparations to put forward our objection at the UN by June to Myanmar's claim and by November to India's claim in the Bay of Bengal," an official involved in the process told the News Age newspaper on Monday.

The report came after Burma and India both recently opposed Bangladesh's offshore block bidding for exploration of oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal.

Bangladesh has also objected to Burma's test drilling in the sea adjacent to its territory, raising tensions between the two neighbors over the maritime demarcations in November 2008.

According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Bangladesh must demarcate its sea boundaries by July 27, 2011, India must demarcate by June 29, 2009, and Burma by May 21, 2009.

Officials said that Burma submitted its claim for the maritime delimitation to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, a UN body established to deal with the law of the sea, in December 2008, while India was set to submit its own claim last Monday.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni will also leave for Burma for a three-day meeting scheduled for 15 - 17 May with discussion on the maritime boundary issue at the top of the agenda.

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