Russia and Norway Agree On Barents Sea Border

Moscow and Oslo have struck a deal that equally divides the long-contested Barents Sea between them. The agreement ends decades of negotiation over the inhospitable area believed to be rich in oil and gas deposits.

The leaders of Russia and Norway voiced satisfaction over a compromise that ends 40 years of dispute over their maritime frontiers.

"This solution is about more than a border line under the ocean. It is about developing good neighborly relations," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at a joint press with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in Oslo. "It will unite much more than divide, and it will become a bridge to cooperation," he added, Deutsche Welle reports.

The Arctic territories, believed to hold vast untapped oil and gas reserves, have increasingly been at the center of disputes between Russia and Norway, as well as the United States, Canada and Denmark as rising temperatures lead to a reduction in sea ice.

Under international law, the five Arctic Circle countries each have a 322-kilometer (200-mile) economic zone in the Arctic Ocean. An area of 175,000 square kilometers has been the issue of the dispute between Norway and Russia.

Both Russian and Norwegian ships have been detained in the disputed area on accusations of violating fishing regulations as maritime borders between the two countries remained undemarcated.

Stoltenberg also said Russia and Norway would introduce a visa-free travel regime for residents of the two countries' border territories in the near future, according to RIA Novosti.

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