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Azeri, Iranian positions on Caspian coming closer

Baku, Jan 16 Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- Iran and Azerbaijan's stands on the legal status of the Caspian Sea are getting closer than ever to each other, it was announced here on Wednesday night.

The two littoral countries positions on the Caspian division are "coming closer", Khalaf Khalafov, the Azerbaijani deputy foreign minister, told reporters on Wednesday, commenting on the results of a regular round of the bilateral talks on the legal status of the Caspian Sea that ended in Baku on Tuesday.

Khalafov who heads the Azerbaijani working group at the talks on the Caspian said that the principles of dividing the sea had been specifically discussed at the meeting.

"Positive tendencies manifested themselves during the negotiations," Khalafov said. He said aspects of the Caspian division would be the subject of the talks of the Azerbaijani and Iranian working groups.

The question of the meeting of experts of the five littoral countries, that was to have been held late in 2002 in Baku and had been twice postponed, was also discussed during the talks in Baku, Khalafov said. He said Azerbaijan and Iran decided to exert every effort to hold the meeting in February in Baku.

The media referring to diplomatic sources noted that the principle of equal division of the Caspian among the five littoral countries, favored by Iran, has not been discussed at the talks. The Iranian delegation to the talks was headed by special representative of the president, Mehdi Safari.

... Payvand News - 1/16/03 ... --

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