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The Caspian: While Envoys meet in Baku, Kazakhstan announces military navy!

Iranian special envoy on Caspian Sea affairs arrives in Baku

Baku, Feb 26, IRNA -- Iranian special envoy on Caspian Sea affairs Mehdi Safari arrived in Baku early Wednesday to attend the 8th session of deputy foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea littoral states.

During the meeting, the participants will discuss the proposed convention on the Caspian Sea legal regime, Safari told IRNA.

He expressed appreciation over Azeri officials' efforts to hold the meeting and hoped it would produce positive outcome on the Caspian Sea issues.

Representatives from Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan attend the two-day meeting which is scheduled to kick off here today.

Kazakhstan to create Caspian military navy

Baku, Feb 26, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Kazakhstan will create a Caspian military navy, although it will not be targeted at any of the other Caspian states, Kazakh First Deputy Foreign Minister Kairat Abuseitov said.

He is visiting Azerbaijan, which is one of the five littoral states, apart from Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran.

Abuseitov told reporters on Wednesday that Kazakhstan needs a streamlined and mobile navy that 'could fight against new threats, primarily terrorism'.

"Nobody is insured against the possibility that the Caspian could become, in future, an arena of terrorist acts, a place of drug transit, illegal arms trade and even illegal migration," Abuseitov said.

He stressed that Kazakhstan's plan to create the navy was aimed purely at solving these problems and was not directed against other Caspian states.

Russia opposed to Caspian pipeline projects - Kalyuzhny

Baku, Feb 26, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Russia is of a negative opinion about the construction of pipelines in the Caspian Sea, said Viktor Kalyuzhny, Russian deputy foreign minister here on Wednesday.

Kalyuzhny, the Russian president's envoy of talks on the Caspian Sea's status, is visiting Azerbaijan, one of the five littoral states.

He told reporters on Wednesday that Russia opposes projects of Caspian bottom pipelines because the sea is unique. Another reason is the geological situation in the Caspian region.

"We would want to risk as little as possible," Kalyuzhny said.

He said that Russia would insist on adding provisions, to a convention on the status of the Caspian Sea, that would make the littoral states bypass the sea. The convention is in the making.

Working groups of the littoral states, which are Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Iran, are discussing the draft convention in Baku on Wednesday.

As for Russia's joining the project of Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline, Kalyuzhny said 'nobody will hamper steps in this direction'.

The pipeline is to link Azerbaijan's offshore oilfields outside Baku with Turkey's terminal Ceyhan through Georgia's capital Tbilisi

Caspian states do not dramatize differences - Russian official

Baku, Feb 26, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- There are certain differences of opinion regarding the status of the sea among the five Caspian states, but they are not dramatized, said Andrei Urnov, chief of the Russian Foreign Ministry's working group on the Caspian Sea.

He commented on the initial results of a meeting of experts in Azerbaijan at a Caspian convention.

"All are set on active work and making the positions closer," Urnov told Itar-Tass.

He called the discussion 'useful and constructive'.

The experts of the littoral states have begun discussing a draft convention that will lay down the status of the Caspian, the resource-rich sea, shares of which Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran all want.

The chairman of the working group on Azerbaijan' s side, Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov said for his part that the 'differences of the sides should not hamper cooperation'.

He said the expert meeting was bound to build rapport for further work on the convention.

Khalafov said all littoral states agreed on a 'median line' as a basis for demarcation of the Caspian basin.

"We hope to agree on all parameters of the application of this principle," Khalafov said.

... Payvand News - 2/26/03 ... --

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