Iran stands firm in Caspian delineation agreements

Oct 10, 2002 02:00 AM

Iran rejected any piecemeal attempts to delineate borders in the mineral-rich Caspian Sea without an overall deal between the five littoral states. Russia has already signed bilateral deals with two of its Caspian neighbours after talks to define mutual borders between all the littoral states -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan -- broke down without agreement in April.

But Iran is holding out for a consensus agreement and refuses to recognise any other deals.
"Any change in the legal regime should be made with the agreement of all countries," a government spokesman told. "Any unilateral, bilateral or even trilateral measure, without the consensus of the other countries, is unacceptable," he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last month sealed a bilateral agreement with Azerbaijan leader Heidar Aliyev over their Caspian frontier. That followed May's deal between Russia and Kazakhstan in May, when the two countries agreed to develop three major oil and gas depositstogether.

The landlocked sea has needed a new legal status since the break-up of the USSR in 1991. Until then it had been governed by a 1970 agreement between Iran and the Soviet Union, then the only two littoral states.
At stake are millions of barrels of oil and gas reserves beneath the Caspian seabed. Iran argues that the seabed should be split evenly between the five states.

Source: Schlumberger Limited
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