Russia's top official for the Caspian region held talks in Tehran with Iranian officials who frequently clash with Moscow over how to divide the sea's rich resources, the official IRNA news agency said Sunday.
Viktor Kalyuzhny, President Vladimir Putin's special envoy to the region, spoke with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Ahani about "their countries' respective positions on the legal regime of the Caspian," the agency said.
The Russian envoy arrived in Tehran after a tour of other Caspian countries.
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: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
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.
Iran rejects bilateral accords on the Caspian and has said the five countries are in agreement that the Soviet-Iranian accords of 1921 and 1940 should be the basis for future agreements.
According to some estimates there are 200 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet (18 trillion cubic meters) of gas reserves under the Caspian, the lion's share of which are held by Azerbaijan. — (AFP, Tehran)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )