I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union, and its 27 Member States.
At the outset, let me congratulate you and the other members of the bureau upon your election. The EU is pleased to see you chairing the 21st Meeting of State Parties to UNCLOS. We are convinced that with your skills and able leadership we will have a very constructive and productive meeting.
The European Union would like to thank the Tribunal for its comprehensive annual report for 2010. The Tribunal continues to play an important role in contributing to the settlement of disputes by peaceful means as well as contributes to the implementation and development of the law of the sea, and has built a reputation for its qualitative, timely and efficient management of cases.
The EU takes note of the cases No 16 (Dispute concerning delimitation of the maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal) and No 18 (The M/V “Louisa” Case (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines v. Kingdom of Spain)) submitted to the Tribunal under Articles 287 (4) (case No 16) and 73, 87, 226, 245, 292, and 303 (case No 18) of the Convention, as well as of the case No 17 Advisory Opinion Responsibilities and obligations of States sponsoring persons and entities with respect to activities in the Area submitted, in accordance with Article 191 of the Convention, to the Seabed Disputes Chamber by the International Seabed Authority.
In that respect, the EU would like to highlight this double premiere namely, the first delimitation case referred to the Tribunal, as well as the first advisory opinion submitted to the Seabed Disputes Chamber.
With regard to the case concerning the delimitation of the maritime boundary between Bangladesh and Myanmar in the Bay of Bengal, the EU would like to take this opportunity to note the consensual referral of the case to the Tribunal as a means of peaceful settlement of disputes relating to the law of the sea.
Concerning the The M/V “Louisa” Case, the EU takes note of the Order of the Tribunal of 23 December 2010 where the Tribunal decided not to prescribe provisional measures.
The Advisory Opinion of the Chamber on Responsibilities and obligations of States sponsoring persons and entities with respect to activities in the Area will be addressed in the ISBA meeting next year.
The EU expresses its satisfaction that, as of 31 December 2010, 117 States Parties had made their contributions to the year 2010 of the 2010 2011 budget of the Tribunal. The EU, however, continues to note with concern that 44 State Parties have not made any payments with respect to their assessed contributions for 2010 and that the balance of unpaid contributions to the overall budget of the Tribunal amounted to over 470.000. Arrears in the payment of assessed contributions are a source of concern to the EU and we call upon State Parties to honour their commitments and pay outstanding contributions in full and on time.
We would like to welcome Malawi and Thailand as the 161st and 162nd State Parties to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
With regard to the Agreement on the Privileges and Immunities of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the EU is pleased to inform that Ireland and France have become Parties of the said Agreement, which brings the total number of States that have ratified or acceded to it to 40. We call on other States to also consider becoming parties to the Agreement.
The European Union would also like to take this opportunity to welcome the capacity-building and training programme conducted by the Tribunal for the fourth time, as well as the regional workshop concerning the settlement of disputes relating to the law of the sea, that was organized by the Tribunal in 2010.
Thank you, Mr Chairman.