Iran News ...


Iran-Turkmen officials meet on caspian sea legal regime

Iran special envoy for Caspian sea Affairs conferred here Thursday with Turkmen officials on the landlocked sea's legal regime and other issues of mutual interest, IRNA reported.

Speaking to IRNA Safari said that his trip to Ashkhabad comes on the heels of an agreement by the two countries' president to follow up on agreement reached during the Turkmen president recent trip to Tehran.

Safari met with the deputy Turkmen president for oil and gas affairs Yolly Gurbanmuradov and the head of state organization for Caspian sea affairs.

He said issues discussed included the Caspian sea legal regime, bilateral cooperation in the sea, other bilateral concerns notably transportation, consular, border and trade issues, and implementation of economic and trade agreements already signed, including the joint polyethylene project.

Safari expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the meetings saying that the next round of talks will be held in Tehran.

He said Turkmenistan's stance on the Caspian sea legal regime is similar to that of Iran's which believes that first priority is to determine the "convention of the sea's legal regime," to be followed by other issues of mutual interest.

The signing of bilateral agreement will only delay a more comprehensive agreements between all the landlocked sea' littoral states, Safari underlined.

The Iranian delegation left Ashkhabad for Tehran Thursday afternoon.

Niyazov in a visit to Tehran in March said that for sometime his country has been carrying out bilateral talks with Iran and other Caspian sea littoral countries aiming to delineate a legal regime for the land-locked sea.

Persian daily 'Hamshahri' quoted Niyazov 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 Niyazov said, warning "otherwise the issue will become intractable."

He also made it clear that Turkmenistan will not accept any confrontational or acrimonious views as well as attempts at forming blocks or pacts with the aim of confronting one or more of sea's littoral states.

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

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.

... Payvand News - 3/28/03 ... --

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