Canada and Kingdom of Denmark Reach Tentative Agreement on Lincoln Sea Boundary
November 28, 2012 – Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister of the Arctic Council for Canada, and Villy Søvndal, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark, met today in Ottawa to discuss a range of issues of common interest and, in particular, engagement in Arctic matters.
The ministers announced that negotiators have reached a tentative agreement on where to establish the maritime boundary in the Lincoln Sea, the body of water north of Ellesmere Island and Greenland. This will resolve an issue between the two countries that arose in the 1970s. Once ratified, the agreement will also provide an opportunity to modernize provisions of the 1973 treaty that established the current boundary south of the Lincoln Sea.
“Our government is pleased with the progress made on the Lincoln Sea boundary,” said Baird. “Today’s tentative agreement lessens uncertainty and strengthens Canada’s sovereignty over the Arctic.”
“Canada’s vision for the Arctic includes clearly defined boundaries,” said Minister Aglukkaq. “This brings us toward that vision and demonstrates our mutual commitment to seeing the North realize its true potential as a healthy, prosperous and secure region.”
“Seeking to resolve boundary issues is a priority for both our countries and is articulated in our respective Arctic strategies,” said Minister Søvndal. “This significant step forward exemplifies the cooperative approach endorsed by Arctic Ocean coastal states in the Ilulissat Declaration of May 28, 2008.”
The tentative agreement does not address the issue of sovereignty over Hans Island. That issue is the subject of continuing discussion intended to arrive at a mutually satisfactory solution.
Negotiators will now work to transform this technical agreement into a treaty text for ratification by their respective governments. Once the treaty is ratified, Canada and the Kingdom of Denmark will share a boundary that is more than 1,600 nautical miles long.
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