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Iran, against militarization of Caspian Sea

Tehran, May 16, IRNA-Iran's special representative for the Caspian Sea Affairs Mehdi Safari, speaking in Tehran on Monday, expressed opposition to militarization of the Caspian Sea and transfer of pipelines through the sea.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Caspian Sea working group on legal status of the Sea, Safari said completion of the Caspian Sea legal regime is a long-term process.

"We try to reach results in the earliest time and codify an appropriate legal regime for the Caspian Sea to prepare ground for the littoral states to make use of its resources," he said.

"The Islamic Republic has proposed the convention of confidence-building and stability in the region to the Caspian Sea littoral states." Iran, Russia and Kazakhstan are against presence of third forces in the sea, said the Iranian official, adding efforts will be made to reach agreement with the other two states.

Iran stressed fair division of the Caspian Sea, Safari said, adding Iran regards a 20 percent share for itself.

"We are negotiating with neighboring states and reached almost good agreements with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan," he stated.

The 17th meeting of working group of the Caspian Sea legal regime kicked off its work in Tehran on Monday in presence of Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi and special representatives of five Caspian Sea littoral states.

Representatives from Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are attending the meeting.

The working group of the sea was established in 1996 upon a proposal by foreign ministers of the Caspian states at the level of special representatives and deputy foreign ministers.

The group is to discuss the sea's legal regime. General principles of the Caspian Sea including shipment, environment protection, exploitation of oil and gas resources and transport networks and security issues are among the main issues on the agenda.

... Payvand News - 5/16/05 ... --

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