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Niyazov: Iran-Turkmenistan in talks over Caspian sea legal regime

President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov said in Tehran that for sometime his country is carrying out bilateral talks with Iran and other Caspian sea littoral countries for delineating a legal regime for the land-lock sea, reported IRNA on Monday.

The Monday issue of the Persian daily 'Hamshahri' quoted Niyazov in his recent trip to Iran, as saying "It seems there is no prospect of achieving multilateral agreements, hence we should continue consultations on bilateral basis.

We are striving to reach agreement with Russia and other nations as well," Niyazov said.

In formulating an ownership plan of the sea's resources all the interest of coastal states should be incorporated Neiyazov said, warning "otherwise the issue will become intractable."

He also made it clear that Turkmenistan will not accept any confrontational or acrimonious ideologies or attempts at forming blocks and unions aiming to confront one or more of sea's littoral states.

An issue under consideration is national ownership of Caspian's contested regions. In fact the Caspian sea there never existed defined borders between the neighboring states, the Turkmen president underlined

Earlier in March, Niyazov, who was on an official visit to Tehran said Iran and Turkmenistan have similar views on the Caspian sea legal regime.

Speaking to IRNA he said the center of discussions with Iranian officials will revolve around joint utilization of Caspian sea resources and continuation of peace and tranquility in the sea.

"We are against war because, war is the cause of destruction of nations and killing of non-combatants," he said.

Niyazov said that Turkmenistan has always stressed on peaceful resolution of diplomatic and regional problems.

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 - 3/18/03 ... --

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