Legal experts from African and Asia began a five-day meeting in New Delhi on Monday (2 February) to work out their strategy for the United Nations sponsored Conference on the Law of the Sea, due to be held in New York, U.
Legal experts from African and Asia began a five-day meeting in New Delhi on Monday (2 February) to work out their strategy for the United Nations sponsored Conference on the Law of the Sea, due to be held in New York, U.S.A., in March.
The New Delhi meeting was organised under the auspices of the Asian African Legal Consultative committee, and government officials and experts from more than thirty countries attended. Their discussions covered several issues of crucial importance to developing countries. In the main the issues arose out of the preliminary work of three committee set up by the untied Nations to prepare for the Law of the Sea Conference.
One of the main topics the delegates were expected to consider was the exploration and exploitation of resources of the deep sea-bed outside territorial waters. Although there is general agreement that the responsibility for determining countries' rights should be vested in an international authority, the developing and developed nations differ on the powers and functions of such an authority.
Other subjects expected to be discussed at the New Delhi meeting included the extent and limits of territorial sea: the rights of passage through straits used for international navigation; the rights of archipelagos; the definition of an exclusive economic zone; the rights and interests of landlocked states; continental shelf control; enclosed or semi-enclosed sea; the rights of islands; and pollution of the oceans.
The meeting was opened by the chairman, Mr. B. Sen, the Secretary-General of the Asian-African Consultative Committee. The Indian delegation was led by Dr. S. P. Jagota, the Joint Secretary and Legal Adviser in the Ministry of External Affairs.