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Expert terms as "successful" Baku caspian conference

Environmental Affairs expert Hamid Ghafarzadeh here Wednesday termed as "successful" the Caspian Sea environment meeting held in Baku Wednesday.

According to reports by Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Ghafarzadeh who is also Iran's Coordinator of Caspian Sea Environmental Programs said the meeting participants discussed the next steps to be taken by the Caspian Sea littoral states to protect its environment.

The Coordinating Center of the Caspian Sea Environmental Program is to be transferred from Baku to Tehran and the participants held key talks in this respect, he said adding that this matter is of critical importance.

The Caspian Sea Environmental Program was established in Ramsar, northern Iran, in 1998, initiated by the Caspian Sea littoral states and assistance of a number of international bodies including EU, the World Bank and the UN.

The expert added that the day-long meeting on Caspian Sea Environment Program which was attended by representatives from the Caspian Sea littoral states focused mainly on the second phase of the four-year Caspian Sea Environment Program.

Ghafarzadeh went on to say that a treaty meant to provide means and measures to protect the Caspian Sea environment is to be finalized on June 14-15 in Tehran during a meeting attended by the representatives of the Caspian Sea littoral states.

The decisions to be made during the meeting are also expected to amend the managerial and organizational structures of the Caspian Sea Environment Program.

The five coastal states of the Caspian sea -- Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan -- are at odds over the division of the land-locked sea which yet lacks a new legal regime to exploit its resources.

Iran calls for a condominium or common sovereignty on the sea and has made it known that it considers any unilateral deals for energy exploration in the Caspian Sea as null and void before the issue of legal regime of the Caspian is settled.

Iran believes the agreements of 1921 and 1940 between Moscow and Tehran are still valid until a new legal regime of the Caspian Sea is drawn up.

Iran and Russia technically used to share the sea but since former Soviet Union's collapse and the birth of the three other republics, they have had to redraw the Caspian Sea's marine borders.

... Payvand News - 3/13/03 ... --

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