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In 1958, against a background of increasing international disputes regarding rights to and control of waters enclosed by coastal indentations, the world community, under United Nations auspices, adopted Article 7 of the Geneva Convention 'On the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone'.
Recognizing the need to balance the interests of coastal states and the international interests of a harmonious world community, the signatories decided in effect that once the water enclosed within a coastal indentation met the requirements of Article 7, it could be presumed irrefutably that the claimant owned these waters as a right against all other states. Well-drafted and unambiguous, Article 7 should have resolved the issue of unreasonably expansive bay claims for ever.
In fact, it did not. Disputes have continued to arise, and in the twenty years since its adoption, Article 7 has not received the analysis necessary to help it become a more reliable basis for conflict resolution in cases involving complex coastal configurations.;This study, the first major examination of Article 7, interprets both its text and context and, more importantly, offers solutions to some of the problems that continue to make the question of coastal bay-waters a source of national and international conflict.