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Caspian Sea working group hold 18th meet in Baku

Tehran, Oct 9, IRNA-Eighteenth meeting of Caspian Sea working group was held in presence of special representatives of five Caspian Sea states in Baku from October 6-7.

Iranian delegation to the meting was led by Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia, Pacific and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and special envoy for Caspian Sea affairs Mehdi Safari.

Negotiations were held in a cordial atmosphere and the neighboring states moved forward to make their stance closer. The Iranian team is satisfied with the 18 rounds of five-party talks and termed the latest round as "a step forward".

The meeting discussed major topics included in in the draft convention such as ways of dividing seabed and undersea resources, defining national and fishing rights and clarification of common areas in the seabed, military status of the Caspian Sea, free transit from waterways and canals of the Caspian Sea, status of shipping, setting up pipeline on seabed, ways to settle differences and location of secretariat and board of trustee of the convention.

Just like the former meetings, the Iranian delegation put forward transparent views about different topics and expressed reservations on certain matters.

The Iranian delegation said that Iran believes that the neighboring states should form a regional security arrangement for the Caspian Sea without interference of alien forces and avoid military competition or arms race due to the atmosphere of understanding and confidence prevailing among the five Caspian Sea states.

Iran made it clear that convention on Caspian Sea legal status should be drawn up to clarify domain of exploitation of undersea resources through fair division of the sea between five states in accordance with international regulations.

Representatives of the five littoral states issued a statement at the end of the Baku meeting expressing national resolve to proceed with negotiations to reach a settlement on the Caspian Sea issues.

They agreed to hold next round of talks in Astana, Kazakhstan in near future.

In light of significance of environment, Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan which have ratified Convention on Caspian Sea Environment, called on Azerbaijan republic to speed up ratification of the convention in Azeri parliament to pave the way for enforcement of the convention to thwart degradation of Caspian Sea environment.

... Payvand News - 10/10/05 ... --

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