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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Straits, International

Ruth Lapidoth

International co-operation — Straits — Exclusive economic zone — UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Law of the Sea) — Innocent passage

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 For geographers and laymen a strait is a narrow, natural passage connecting two larger bodies of water. But the international law of straits applies only to more narrowly defined water spaces. The legal definition of straits regulated by international law is based on two elements: a geographical one—the nature of the bodies of water that they connect; and a functional one—their being used for international navigation, as explained below. International law on straits is a compromise between the interests of the international community , for which freedom of...
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