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White House officials urge approval of Law of the Sea treaty

[JURIST] Three senior Bush administration officials urged the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee [official website] to approve the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [UN materials] Thursday. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Patrick Walsh [statements, PDF] argued that US military interests are at risk while the US remains outside of the treaty. Negroponte noted that joining the convention is the "best way to secure navigational and economic rights related to the law of the sea," while England added that membership in the treaty will "support the global mobility of our armed forces and the sustainment of our combat forces overseas." The Senate Foreign Relations Committee gave unanimous support to the treaty in 2004, but a full Senate ratification stalled on the floor [JURIST report].

Opponents of the treaty argue that the treaty does exempt some military activities, but does not specify which ones. Others argue that the treaty fails to take into account special US military and commercial interests. Opponents of the treaty are scheduled to testify before the committee on October 4 [committee materials]. The Washington Times has more.

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