The Antarctic Treaty regime
Law, Environment and Resources
Edited by Gillian D. Triggs
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year: 1987
Online Publication Date:January 2010
Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511565502.007
The four-way veto
Just as all roads lead to Rome so all agreements, recommendations and practices within the Antarctic Treaty system are referrable to and are explained by differing juridical positions on sovereignty. Four groups of state interests can be identified which adopt significantly different legal perspectives on the question of Antarctic sovereignty:
Each group of states has the political and legal power to protect its interests in a manner which has been described by Australia's Ambassador Brennan as a four-way veto. It is this power of veto which must be defused or avoided both within the treaty system, the negotiations for a minerals regime and the United Nations itself if the Antarctic Treaty regime is to survive.
The claimant states
Seven states claim territorial sovereignty in Antarctica: the United Kingdom, in 1908; New Zealand, in 1923; France, in 1924; Australia, in 1933; Norway, in 1939; Chile, in 1940 and Argentina, in 1942. The claims of Argentina, Chile and the United Kingdom overlap.