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Danes claim subsea ridge allows rights to North Pole

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Scientific data show Greenland’s continental shelf is connected to a ridge beneath the Arctic Ocean, giving Danes a claim to the North Pole and any potential energy resources beneath it, Denmark’s foreign minister said.

Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard said Denmark will deliver a claim Monday to a U.N. panel in New York that will eventually decide control of the area, which Russia and Canada also covet.

The five Arctic countries — the United States, Russia, Norway, Canada and Denmark — all have areas surrounding the North Pole, but only Canada and Russia had indicated an interest in it before Denmark’s claim.

Lidegaard said the Arctic nations so far "have stuck to the rules of the game" and he hoped they would continue to do so.

In 2008 the five pledged that control of the North Pole region would be decided in an orderly settlement in the framework of the United Nations, and possible overlapping claims would be dealt with bilaterally.

Interest in the Arctic is intensifying as global warming shrinks the polar ice, opening up possible resource development and new shipping lanes.

The area is believed to hold an estimated 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30 percent of its untapped gas.

Lidegaard said he expects no quick decisions, with other countries also sending in claims.

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