Iran and Russia call for summit on Caspian Sea status

Nov 20, 2001 01:00 AM

The Iranian and Russian governments want to see the five Caspian littoral states call a summit for further talks on the legal status of the sea. Moscow and Tehran issued a call for an urgent five-way meeting on the Caspian.
The call came as Mehdi Safari, Iran's special envoy for Caspian Sea affairs, visited Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart Viktor Kalyuzhny. The two officials had spoken after their meeting on the important role that Russia and Iran were each playing in the process of working out a legal regime for the Caspian.

The Caspian littoral states have for the last few years been at odds with each other over the disposition of the sea and the oil and gas reserves located beneath it. At present, Moscow is advocating a solution whereby the waters of the sea would be held in common while the sea bed and subsoil zone would be divided into national sectors along international boundary lines, according to a variant of the median-line principle.
This approach -- worked out over several years of policy shifts -- has won support in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, both of which have signed bilateral treaties on the Caspian with Russia. Turkmenistan has taken a more ambivalent stance. At times, Ashgabat has shown sympathy for the Iranian side, which would like to see the Caspian divided so that each littoral state received a 20 % share of total oil and gas resources.

In practice, all Caspian littoral states generally treat the offshore zone -- particularly with respect to subsoil resources -- as if it had been already divided into national sectors along international boundary lines. The states differ, however, on the exact demarcation of these "sectors".

Source: NewsBase
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