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Common sea principle violation may worsen Caspian ecology

Moscow, March 24, Itar-Tass/ACSNA/IRNA -- The violation of the principle of the common sea "may deteriorate the ecological situation in the Caspian Sea," Iran's Ambassador to Russia Gholam-Reza Shafei told Itar-Tass.

Shafei made the remark on the eve of the upcoming ministerial meeting of the Caspian Five group in Moscow.

He noted that the agenda of the meeting of foreign ministers of the five Caspian Sea littoral states (Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), due in Moscow on April 5-7, will include the preparation to the second summit in Tehran.

"Under the agreements between Moscow and Tehran in 1921 and 1940, the Caspian was the common sea for the two countries," the ambassador recalled.

"After 1991, this approach spread on five Caspian littoral states. This main principle was confirmed again at the meeting of foreign ministers in Ashkhabad in November 1996 at which emphasis was placed on the need of unanimity in the decision-making on the Caspian problems," he said.

However the Iranian side believes that "this principle has been ignored to a certain degree in the recent years over unilateral positions of some countries and their striving to begin the soonest use of the sea resources."

Meanwhile some countries "began concluding agreements and carrying out works in the Caspian Sea. This did not promote the solution to problems, but lead to greater contamination of the sea biosphere and poses a threat to biological resources including rare species of fauna," Shafei emphasized.

Owing to various bilateral and multilateral steps of the littoral countries Iran believes that "all agreements can have effect only if they are approved by the Five group and positions of all countries are taken into account."

"Fortunately after the first summit in Ashkhabad in 2002 attention to the Caspian problems has noticeably grown," Shafei pointed out.

"The signing of the Convention on environmental protection last year was the first positive step in this direction," he remarked.

... Payvand News - 3/24/04 ... --

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