Fresh dialogue between Moscow and Tehran on Caspian riches
The Russian envoy for the Caspian Sea, Viktor Kolyuzhny, held discussions Wednesday, November 21 with an Iranian parliament deputy on rights to the Caspian Sea's vast oil riches, Iranian state radio reported.
Kolyuzhny met with Iranian MP Mohammad Ghashghavi, who sits on the parliament's foreign policy and national security commission, the radio said. The men reviewed the much disputed legal rights to the Caspian, the radio said. Ghashgavi stressed Iran's firm stance against any unilateral actions on the sea, the radio added.
Kolyuzhny, who was also set to meet with Iranian foreign ministry officials, had come to Iran after Russia and Iran called on November 14 for the presidents of the five lateral Caspian Sea states to hold a summit to resolve the prickly dispute over the region's oil reserves.
The Russian foreign ministry said in a statement last Wednesday that Iran's visiting special envoy for the Caspian Sea, Mehdi Safari, and Kolyuzhny had agreed to speed up the dialogue over the decade-long dispute. The two negotiators "noted the especially important role in this process that the heads of the Caspian states must play in solving the dispute," the ministry statement said.
Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia have been unable to agree on how to share the Caspian's wealth since the collapse of the Soviet Union 10 years ago. Iran and Turkmenistan believe the Caspian Sea should be carved out into five equal portions, while Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan want the division to be made proportional to the length of each country's shoreline, reducing Iran's stake. Failure to resolve the issue has hindered development of the region, thought to hold 200 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of gas. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)