Alan M. Field Jul 14, 2009 8:33 PM GMT
The Bahamas and Cuba have completed a “successful round” of preliminary negotiations aimed at marking out the maritime boundaries between the two neighboring countries, the Bahamian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced.
A delegation of technical experts from various ministries, accompanied by a consultant on maritime delimitations, met in Havana, Cuba, to exchange scientific and legal information that will form the framework for determining “an equitable boundary between the two countries in accordance with the relevant principles of international law,” said the Ministry. Although the Bahamas has a population of only about 330,000, its 29 islands and 661 cays stretch southward all the way from Grand Bahama Island, 55 miles east of Florida, to the islands of Great Inagua and Little Inagua, just off southeast Cuba.
Other areas of mutual interest were identified for further discussions, many of which are mandated by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. These topics include cooperation in search and rescue, the combating of illegal trafficking in drugs and migrants, technical cooperation in such areas as hydrography and maritime scientific research, and in the management of trans-boundary resources – fisheries, oil and gas deposits. The meeting was the latest in a series of discussions on delimitation that have taken place between The Bahamas and Cuba since the 1990s. A further round is scheduled to take place within months, the Ministry said.
The government said the Bahamas intends to pursue similar boundary talks with the United States, the United Kingdom (on behalf of the Turks & Caicos Islands), and Haiti.
“Both parties emphasized the long-standing links of friendship, respect and cooperation that exists between them, and it is within that framework that the parties hope to eventually conclude an agreement that would be mutually beneficial and acceptable,” the Bahamian government said.
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