Environmentalists are concerned about the rush for
resources and the potential environmental harm [EPA]

Representatives from five countries bordering the Arctic Ocean have agreed to attempt to defuse tensions over their competing claims for access to the resource rich region.

In a conference in Greenland, the United States, Canada, Russia, Norway and Denmark said they saw no need for new accords on Arctic matters and would use existing laws such as the Law of the Sea Treaty to resolve disputes.

The law is an existing United Nations convention which defines the rights and responsibilities of countries in their use of the world's oceans.

The Greenland conference comes amidst huge efforts, especially by Russia, to project its sovereignty in the Arctic.

Many environmental groups have expressed concern about the ongoing Arctic rush for resources and the potential environmental harm.

But just what rights do these countries have in the Arctic?

Inside Story, with presenter Kamahl Santamaria, investigates.

Watch part one of this episode of Inside Story

Watch part two of this episode of Inside Story

This episode of Inside Story aired on Thursday, May 29, 2008 at 17:30 GMT

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Source: Al Jazeera