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Iran's President: Caspian Sea, sea of peace, friendship

Sari, Mazandaran Province, April 29, IRNA -- President Mohammad Khatami said in Neka on Thursday that the Caspian Sea is the sea of peace and friendship among its littoral states.

Addressing inauguration ceremony of the first phase of a project to pipe oil from neighboring Caspian states to Iranian refineries, he expressed the hope that a lasting legal regime for the sea would be drawn up through cooperation among all the neighbor states.

Referring to the Caspian Sea as a great God-given asset for the regional nations, Khatami said the littoral states should safeguard the sea and make use of its resources in a fair manner.

He also called on the neighboring countries to turn the sea to a center of coexistence and friendship.

The Iranian president further said that the Caspian Sea oil transfer via Iran is a great and important project and added that Iran provides the most economical, safest and best route for transfer of Caspian oil and gas to the high seas.

On obstacles created by the US in the way of transfer of the Caspian oil via Iran, he said such hostile attitude by the US emanated from Iran's independent policy and Washington's unilateral approach.

The unwise pressures exerted by the US have been faced defeat, Khatami said hoping that such a failure would be a good lesson for Washington in order not to impose its wishes on regional nations.

Referring to the critical situation in the neighboring Iraq as a result of the US aggressive policy, he stressed that the Iraqi nation and the occupying forces both are facing numerous problems.

Terming inauguration of the first phase of Neka oil transfer project as a sign of friendship and solidarity among the Caspian littoral countries, he expressed the hope that the next phases will successfully become operational in the near future.

Neka has been turned into a major marine center for Iran, President Khatami said adding that the littoral states will witness a great development in the region.

He further praised expertise of the Iranian skillful experts in ship manufacturing and construction of marine structures and oil platforms.

At the end of the ceremony, President Khatami awarded experts and those involved in construction of the installations and putting into operation of the project.

The first phase of the Neka-Rey pipeline has the capacity to transfer 170,000 bpd oil to Iranian refineries. The figure will rise to 370,000 bpd and will finally reach 500,000 bpd in the future.

Neka oil terminal has the capacity to store 1.5 million barrels of oil.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and Minister of Industries and Mines Es'haq Jahangiri as well as ambassadors of Russia and Kazakhstan to Tehran along with a group of provincial officials and regional oil experts were present in the inauguration ceremony of the project.

... Payvand News - 4/29/04 ... --

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