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Maritime body ends territorial dispute

Ruling redefines borders in Bay of Bengal in binding agreement

Maritime body ends territorial dispute
The area under discussion reporter, Dhaka

March 15, 2012

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An international tribunal ended a decades-old maritime territorial dispute in the Bay of Bengal yesterday by ruling in favor of Bangladesh over its neighbor Myanmar. The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) in effect laid down a new maritime border giving Bangladesh exclusive economic and territorial rights in the disputed area, about 270km off the coast from Chittagong. The verdict, delivered in Hamburg, Germany by a 23-member panel of judges, ended a 38-year old dispute between the two countries and opens the way for power-starved Bangladesh to begin offshore oil and gas exploration. At the height of the dispute, tensions were raised after both countries dispatched naval vessels to the area. Bangladesh initiated the case against Myanmar at the UN maritime body in October, 2009 to finally resolve the dispute. “It is a day of pride and happiness for Bangladesh. Our sovereignty has been established in the Bay of Bengal,” Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said in a statement. She also praised Myanmar for its willingness to resolve the matter by legal means and for its acceptance of the tribunal’s judgment.    
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