Russia backs plans to organise an international summit on the Caspian Sea's oil and gas resources, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Monday after a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Vilayat Guliyev.
However, "the dates and venue of this meeting have yet to be fixed," Ivanov told a press conference here.
The Caspian Sea's hydrocarbon resources, considered the world's richest after those of the Persian Gulf and Siberia, are the object of fierce rivalry between Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.
The division of the Caspian's waters has never been formally clarified, with the result that the rival nations continue to dispute the share-out and exploitation of its natural resources.
In the past, Iran has accused Azerbaijan of being too friendly to the United States and Israel because of its success in securing a number of major energy contracts with foreign firms since the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The planned summit could play "a major role in concluding efforts to define the (legal) status of the Caspian Sea," Ivanov said.—AFP.
©--Agence France Presse.
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)