The five countries bordering the Caspian Sea have decided that an agreement on sharing out its vast oil and gas resources must be unanimous, Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ahani said Thursday.
He was speaking after two days of talks with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan to prepare for a summit on the question next month in Turkmenistan.
"For the first time the five countries have decided that there should be a unanimous accord on the future legal status of the Caspian, and a guarantee of its implementation," Ahani was quoted by state radio as saying.
Moscow and Tehran had joint agreements on the Caspian but they fell apart with the break-up of the Soviet Union 10 years ago, and the emergence of three new littoral states.
Tehran, which reacted angrily to an agreement between Russia and Azerbaijan in January, is seeking a strictly "equitable" sharing of the spoils, giving each country 20 percent regardless of the length of its coastline.
Ahani said the five had agreed to take the Soviet-Iranian accords of 1921 and 1940 as the basis for a future agreements, adding that Iran had reaffirmed its rejection of bilateral accords.
Ahani said Iran had also proposed the creation of a joint fund to combat pollution in the Caspian resulting from increased oil and gas drilling, which is notably killing off the sturgeon population.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )