The United States and Russian Federation today concluded the joint inspection in Antarctica.
The the joint team covered the six-day inspection of foreign research stations, installations and equipment in Antarctica on 28th of January 2012. The inspection is in pursuant to the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 and its Environmental Protocol.
The team inspected the following stations: Concordia (France/Italy), Mario Zucchelli (Italy) and Scott Base (New Zealand).
According to media reports, officials from the U.S. Department of State and the Russian Federation Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the inspection.
The U.S.-Russia team examined the Treaty Parties’ adherence to their obligations with respect to limiting environmental impacts and ensuring that Antarctica is used only for peaceful purposes. The team also wanted to ensure that Parties honor the prohibition on measures of a military nature.
The United States appreciates the assistance provided by the French, Italian and New Zealand personnel at the visited stations.
An inspection report will be jointly presented by the United States and Russia to the other Treaty Parties at the next Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in June 2012 in Hobart, Australia.
The Department of State coordinates U.S. policy on Antarctica with NSF and other federal agencies. It leads diplomatic efforts within the framework established by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty, signed in Washington, to ensure Antarctica’s status as a continent reserved for peace and science.
Antarctica is Earth’s southernmost continent. For comparison, it is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice.
Antarctica is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents.