CIS countries agree on division of Caspian Sea

Aug 03, 2001 02:00 AM

Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan agreed on the division of the Caspian Sea, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said in Sochi, Kazakhstan. Nazarbayev was quoted as saying that his country, Russia, Azerbaijan and Tajikistan have no disagreements on the division of the Caspian Sea on a middle line to be drawn on the bottom of the sea. Nazarbayev said that "the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, or the USSR successors, recognize the existing borders, including foreign political ones."
"As the countries established their borders with Iran, any revision in it will lead to serious consequences," the Kazakh president noted, adding that he and his Russian counterpart instructed experts to prepare a protocol on this issue till the end of the year. He added that the sides are planning to take into account Turkmenistan's position on a 12-mile border zone.

President Putin expressed concern about the tense situation in the south of the Caspian Sea and added that "our common task is to do everything possible so that the Caspian Sea would become a sea of peace and calmness and all problems would be solved amicably by peaceful means, through direct dialogue, good-neighbourliness and mutual understanding, taking into account the norms of international laws.
Russia is ready to contribute to such a process, added Putin. "It is unacceptable to use force," the Russian president believes. It is necessary to reach agreement on the Caspian Sea's new status as soon s possible, he reiterated. This will lay a solid legal foundation for mutually advantageous cooperation among all Caspian states, including in developing oil and gas Caspian resources," the Russian president said.
Observers praise the CIS countries' agreement on the division of the Caspian Sea and say that this is a considerable achievement of Russian diplomats who proposed to "divide the bottom" of this strategically important sea, which is rich of natural resources. At the same time, the Russian president made it clear that it needs time to determine a final status of the Caspian Sea. Putin said that it is impossible to solve it without compromises and the participation of the five Caspian states. as well as Iran, which is not a CIS member.

An Iranian navy battleship's warning issued against a British oil giant BP oil discovery ship commissioned by Azerbaijan resulted in accelerating the so-far-extremely-slow trend of the Caspian Sea littoral states' efforts aimed at finalizing a comprehensive legal regime for the Caspian Sea. Yet, the CIS countries, including Iran's traditional ally, Russian Federation, seem not to have grasped the Iranians' message of the need to reach a "just" solution that would guarantee the rights of "all" littoral states, yet. Otherwise, they would not have tried to finalized the sensitive matter in the absence of one of the major involved parties besides Russia, namely the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Source: IRNA
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