Fiji disputes with Tonga over Minerva Reef

15:13, May 27, 2011      

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The Fiji government stated Friday that the controversial Minerva Reef is inside Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone and this is determined by geographical coordinates.

The Fiji government made the statement after the Tongan government claimed that the reef belonged to them and had started building a navigational beacon in the area, according to FijiVillage news website.

The website quoted the statement by the Fiji authorities as saying Fiji is a party to the 1982 United Nations Convention on The Law of the Sea and that it has complied with the requirements of article 75 of the Convention, which reads that the coastal state shall give due publicity to such charts or lists of geographical coordinates and shall deposit a copy of each such chart or list with the Secretary General of the UN.

The Fiji government stated that the coordinates deposited and specified in the Marine Spaces Act defined Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone and according to the coordinates Minerva Reef falls within Fiji's Exclusive Economic Zone.

Fiji received a report late last year that Tonga was constructing two structures on the reef. And Fiji's Ministry of Foreign Affairs then complained to the Tonga government that the structures were being built on Fiji's territory.

Source: Xinhua
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