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Australia to sign law of the sea convention



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MINISTER FOR

FOREIGN AFFAIRS

FS3J*. A U S T R A L I A ,/t-NEWS RELEASE

No. M1 24 Date 18 November 1982 THE HON. TONY STREET, M.P.

Λ

AUSTRALIA TO SIGN LAW OF THE SEA CONVENTION \ 5

The M i n i s t e r f o r F o r e i g n A f f a i r s , t he Hon. Tony

S t r e e t , M . P . , announced t oday t h a t t he Government had

recommended to t he G o v e r n o r - G e n e r a l i n C o u n c i l t h a t A u s t r a l i a

si gn t he Law of t h e Sea Co n v e n t i o n at t h e f o r t h c o m i n g s i g n i n g

s e s s i o n i n Jamai ca f rom 6 - 1 0 December 1 9 8 2. The C o n v e n t i o n was

adopt ed by t h e Law of t h e Sea Co n f e r e n c e i n New York on

30 A p r i l 1982 by an ov e r wh e l mi n g m a j o r i t y of c o u n t r i e s ,

i n c l u d i n g A u s t r a l i a , a f t e r y e a r s of i n t e n s i v e n e g o t i a t i o n s .

Mr S t r e e t s a i d t h a t t he d e c i s i o n was based on a number

of f a c t o r s , i n c l u d i n g t he a c h i e v e me n t of A u s t r a l i a ' s l o n g - t e r m

o b j e c t i v e s of f r eedom of n a v i g a t i o n and access t o l i v i n g and .

n o n - l i v i n g r e s o u r c e s . I f c o u n t r i e s wi t h s u b s t a n t i a l m a r i t i m e

i n t e r e s t s were not t o sup por t t he C o n v e n t i o n , d i f f i c u l t i e s ove r

t r a n s i t and r e s o u r c e e x p l o i t a t i o n a r r a n g e me n t s woul d al most

c e r t a i n l y i n c r e a s e .

The M i n i s t e r s a i d t h a t by s i g n i n g the' C o n v e n t i o n i n

J a ma i c a , A u s t r a l i a woul d be i n a b e t t e r p o s i t i o n t o e n c o u r a g e

o t h e r c o u n t r i e s , i n c l u d i n g t h o s e i n o ur r e g i o n , t o s i g n e a r l y

and t o i n f l u e n c e a t t i t u d e s t o t h e new C o n v e n t i o n . A u s t r a l i a

woul d a l s o be a b l e t o p a r t i c i p a t e f u l l y i n t h e work of t h e

pr o p o s e d P r e p a r a t o r y Co mmi s s i on, whose t a s k i t w i l l be t o

p r e p a r e t h e d e t a i l e d r u l e s and r e g u l a t i o n s f o r t h e o p e r a t i o n o f

t h e I n t e r n a t i o n a l Seabed A u t h o r i t y and Law o f t h e Sea t r i b u n a l .

Mr S t r e e t s a i d t h e Gover nment a c c e p t e d t h a t t he

C o n v e n t i o n was not p e r f e c t . A u s t r a l i a woul d have p r e f e r r e d

t h a t t h e p r o v i s i o n s on t h e mi n i n g o f t h e deep seabed beyond

n a t i o n a l j u r i s d i c t i o n wer e based more on t h e o p e r a t i o n of f r e e

ma r k e t f o r c e s . The Gover nment b e l i e v e d , h o w e v e r , t h a t t he

e x i s t i n g p r o v i s i o n s wer e t h e b e s t t h a t c o u l d be n e g o t i a t e d i n

t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s and t h a t t h e C o n v e n t i o n ' s a d v a n t a g e s f a r

o u t w e i g h e d any d i s a d v a n t a g e s .

Mr S t r e e t s a i d t h a t t h e G o v e r n me n t ' s d e c i s i o n had o n l y

been r e a c h e d a f t e r c l o s e c o n s u l t a t i o n w i t h t h e S t a t e s and

i n t e r e s t e d o r g a n i s a t i o n s , a l l o f whi ch g e n e r a l l y s u p p o r t e d

A u s t r a l i a n s i g n a t u r e o f t h e C o n v e n t i o n . S t a t e Gover nment s f rom

19 78 *aiid t h e A u s t r a l i a n mi n i n g i n d u s t r y f r om 1 979 had been

r e p r e s e n t e d on s u c c e s s i v e A u s t r a l i a n D e l e g a t i o n s t o t he Law o f

t he Sea C o n f e r e n c e .

The M i n i s t e r s a i d t h a t , w h i l e t h e Gover nment was

d i s a p p o i n t e d t h a t t he U n i t e d S t a t e s Gover nment had d e c i d e d not

t o s i g n t h e Law of t h e Sea C o n v e n t i o n at t h i s t i m e , i t hoped,

n e v e r t h e l e s s , t h a t t h e C o n v e n t i o n woul d be w i d e l y s u p p o r t e d and

p r o v i d e a s e c u r e and a g r e e d f r a me wo r k f o r a l l a s p e c t s of t h e

uses o f t h e s e a s . ■