Turkmenistan and Iran Discuss Caspian Sea Status
Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ahani have discussed proposals on the status of the disputed resource-rich Caspian Sea, official reports said Tuesday.
Ahani, Iran's special representative on Caspian issues, and Niyazov "confirmed the closeness of the positions" of the two countries on the issue of resolving the status of the inland sea, the Neutraly Turkmenistan reported.
Turkmenistan and Iran felt talks on the Caspian's legal status should take place on a bilateral level until the positions of the five Caspian sea states draws closer, the report continued.
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Russia are unable to agree on how to divide the Caspian sea which has some of the world's richest reserves of hydrocarbons after the Gulf and Siberia.
The issue has prompted rivalry and disputes among the five nations and could threaten to undermine oil exploration projects there.
The report also noted that Turkmenistan and Iran had held talks on increasing the volume of Turkmen gas delivered through a pipeline to Iran.
Turkmenistan's national statistics agency reported that 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas was supplied to Iran from January to November last year.
A source in the Iranian embassy in Turkmenistan said the two countries also discussed a wide range of bilateral, regional and international questions -- ASHKHABAD (AFP)
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