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Russia assures Iran over Caspian Sea decisions

Press TV - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has assured Iran that it will not be left out at any decisions to be made on the status of the Caspian Sea.

In a letter to his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki, Lavrov reiterated that Iran will be part of any decision makings on the issues pertaining to the Caspian Sea, IRNA reported on Friday.

"Russia is of the conviction that any talks or decision makings on the Caspian Sea should be made unanimously and collectively by all five littoral states."

Lavrov said cooperation between the littoral states was the key to peace, stability and security in the region. He expressed hope that the third future summit to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, will help solve a range of issues regarding the legal status of the sea.

Lavrov's letter came in response to Mottaki's earlier protest at Iran's exclusion at an informal summit of the littoral states.

The presidents of the central Asian states of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan as well as Russia and Azerbaijan met in the Kazakh coastal city of Aktau earlier this month to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The Iranian president was, however, absent in the meeting described as an informal gathering which did not aim to 'consider the issues on the status of the Caspian Sea and division of the seabed.'

Iran protested being left out by summoning the ambassadors of all four countries and writing to their foreign ministers. Mottaki also called his four counterparts to express dismay over the exclusion.

The maritime and seabed boundaries of the Caspian Sea have yet to be demarcated among Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan, the five countries bordering the Sea.

Despite extensive negotiations, the legal status of the Caspian Sea has been unclear since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Related Article:

National Interests of Iran in the Caspian Sea

By Bahman Aghai Diba, PhD International Law of the Sea

The Caspian Sea littoral states have failed to reach a general compromise on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea. Since the collapse of the USSR, these states have convened many conferences in all levels, including the first summit in 2002 in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) and second summit in Tehran, 16th of October 2007, to solve this problem and they have not succeeded. This issue has the potential to turn into a point of confrontation and even conflict, especially with discovery of oil and gas resources and the new importance of the Caspian oil as an alternative to the Persian Gulf oil (at least to some extent).

... Payvand News - 09/25/09 ... --

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