Territorial disputes are often related to the possession of natural resources such as rivers, fertile farmland, mineral or oil resources although the disputes can also be driven by culture, religion and ethnic nationalism. Territorial disputes result often from vague and unclear language in a treaty that set up the original boundary.
Territorial disputes are a major cause of wars and terrorism as states often try to assert their sovereignty over a territory through invasion, and non-state entities try to influence the actions of politicians through terrorism. International law does not support the use of force by one state to annex the territory of another state. The UN Charter says: "All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations."
Territorial disputes have significant meaning in the international society, both because it is related to the fundamental right of states, sovereignty, and also because it is important for international peace. International law has significant relations with territorial disputes because territorial disputes tackles the basis of international law; the state territory. International law is based on the 'persons' of international law, which requires a 'defined territory' as mentioned in the Montevideo convention of 1933.