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A territorial dispute concerns the right to exercise control over a particular piece of land. Territorial control, or sovereignty, is a complex right consisting of different types of entitlements. One is the right of jurisdiction, that is, the right to formulate laws and to adjudicate and enforce them. Territorial sovereignty encompasses the right to determine how natural resources such as farmland, minerals, and oil should be used and the right to control movements across external boundaries. A territorial dispute exists if more than one party claims the right to territorial sovereignty over the same piece of land. Territorial disputes can take place between established governments or between a government and a nonstate group. Until fairly recently, scholars have given most attention to international territorial disputes.

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