Lisbon, Mar. 23 (Lusa) – Negotiations at the United Nations on Portugal’s proposal to extend its continental shelf to twice its current size are to start on 14 August, the country’s Ministry of the Sea announced in a statement on Thursday.
“The first meeting in the negotiations has already been scheduled for 14 August in the ambit of the working group that the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) has just created to analyse the Portuguese proposal, which aims to enlarge by two million square kilometres the maritime area under national jurisdiction [to] twice the current size,” the statement says.
The ministry described the creation of the subcommittee as “a decisive step”. When its work is concluded, it said, this will enable Portugal to have “the exercise of sovereign rights over the continental shelf for purposes of knowledge and exploitation of its natural resources.”
According to the ministry, the CLCS is made up of 21 experts in hydrography, geology and geophysics, of which seven are to assess Portugal’s proposal.
According to the UN Convention, the “continental shelf of a coastal State comprises the seabed and subsoil of the submarine areas that extend beyond its territorial sea throughout the natural prolongation of its land territory,” the ministry recalled in its statement.
The bid to extend the area of the Portuguese shelf has been coordinated since 2005 by a special national body set up for the purpose. It lodged formal papers with the UN in 2009.
IMA/ARO // ARO.
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