Baku, Feb 28, IRNA -- The participants at the 8th session of deputy foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea littoral states who discussed a proposed convention on the Caspian Sea legal regime on February 26-27 issued a joint communique as the session wound up its work on Thursday.
The participants agreed on some of the clauses of the convention on the Caspian Sea and termed as positive the deliberations in the session.
They said in their communique that the caspian sea session held in Baku contributed tremendously to efforts to reach an all-out accord on the new legal regime of the Caspian.
They decided that the next session of the Caspian Sea states working groups would be organized in Kazakhstan's capital Astana.
Commenting on the eight Caspian session in an interview with IRNA, Iranian special envoy on Caspian Sea affairs Mehdi Safari expressed optimism over the meeting discussions on the proposed convention on the Caspian Sea legal regime.
He hoped it would produce positive outcome on the Caspian Sea issues.
Representatives from Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan attended the two-day meeting to prepare grounds to determine a new legal regime for the land-locked energy-rich sea.
The five countries have failed so far to find a common ground on how to divide the sea. Reports of bilateral deals among some of the coastal countries have further complicated the issue.
In efforts to arrive at a consensus, Iran is calling for the application of the condominium concept or principle of common sovereignty, and has warned that it will treat as null and void any unilateral deal to explore the sea's resources before a legal regime is established.
Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Khalaf Khalafov in a press conference termed as positive the results of the meeting saying that wide deliberations had been conducted on the Caspian-related matters.
Khalafov who was the chairman of the working group on Azerbaijan's side said that the 'differences of the sides should not hamper cooperation.
He said the expert meeting was bound to provide grounds for further work on the convention related to the Caspian Sea.
Iranian special envoy on Caspian Sea affairs Mehdi Safari who attended the Caspian Sea meeting said Iran is of the opinion that the international principles and expertise of other states should be considered in formulating the new legal status of the Caspian.
The rights of all status bordering the caspian sea should be considered and one has to try to solve any discrepancies among the Caspian Sea countries, he noted.
Viktor Kalyuzhny, Russian deputy foreign minister who is also the envoy of the Russian president's on the Caspian Sea's affairs, said the participation of the representatives of the Caspian Sea countries in the session once again revealed that the countries bordering the Caspian are well determined to go ahead with discussions to solve the Caspian issue.
He expressed pleasure over the the deliberations by the participants on the proposed convention on the Caspian Sea legal regime.
Representatives from Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan attended the two-day meeting.
Working groups of the five Caspian Sea countries discussed the draft convention as a way to find means to settle the Caspian Sea issue on February 26-27 in Baku.
The land-locked sea's carve-up is a bone of contention among its littoral states which have failed so far to work out a formula to exploit its resources.
Iran and Turkmenistan call for an equal division of the land-locked sea, while Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan say that it must be divided according to the size of the five countries' coastlines.
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