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Iran calls for five-sided agreement on Caspian Sea

Iran on Monday called for a five-sided agreement to settle the Caspian Sea issues, IRNA reported from Ashkhabad, Turkmenistan.

Iran`s Special Envoy for Caspian Sea Affairs Mehdi Safari made the remark during the inaugural ceremony of the 11th meeting of the Caspian Sea working group.

"Iran opposes bilateral and trilateral agreements on the Caspian Sea and believes the issues related to the sea should only be settled through a five-sided agreement," Safari said.

"Iran has announced its stance on the (sea`s) issues several times and has published it via the United Nations," he added. According to international regulations, any agreement which affects the interest of a third country can become invalid, he noted. "Iran will continue bilateral talks and hopes the debates would be effective to reach a five-sided agreement," the envoy said. He hoped the Ashkhabad meeting would reduce differences of taste regarding the Caspian Sea legal regime and pave the way for the next summit meeting which will be held in Tehran next year.

"We hope the Caspian Sea littoral states will reach a consensus on the date and agenda of the Tehran meeting through consultations," Safari pointed out.

He said a two-day conference on the Caspian Sea environment`s convention will be held in Tehran on November 4-5 and added that signing of the convention would be a very important step to settle the Caspian Sea issues.

The 11th two-day meeting of the Caspian Sea working group, comprising of deputies foreign ministers of the five littoral states, kicked off here Monday to discuss the convention on the Caspian Sea legal affairs.

The Caspian Sea working group was founded in 1996 to codify the convention on the legal regime of the sea.

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

Iran calls for a condominium or common sovereignty on the sea and has made it known that it will reject any unilateral action for energy exploration in the sea before the issue of the legal regime is settled.

... Payvand News - 9/8/03 ... --

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