Baku Urges Resolution of Caspian Status

ANKARA (Turkish Daily News)–Azeri Deputy Foreign Minister Halef Halefov has stated that the status of the Caspian Sea should be determined through accepted and objective laws rather than requests by individual states.

In a statement made in Baku yesterday–Halefov said the dispute over the status of the Caspian Sea should be tackled through negotiations among the countries bordering on it but added that there have been no concrete steps to this end so far.

Stressing that they have been unable to reach a just and permanent resolution to the dispute yet–Deputy Foreign Minister Halefov said no common decision has emerged from the proposals by the bordering countries. "We have experience of dividing the Caspian Sea into sectors and want the parties to have talks around this experience," said Halefov.

The countries which border the Caspian Sea–Azerbaijan–Turkmen’stan–Kazakhstan–Iran and Russia have problems in defining their respective zones–but the fiercest dispute has been between Azerbaijan and Turkmen’stan. While the two countries have serious problems over sharing the Kepez region–Turkmen’stan has been claiming that the Azeri and Chirag oil-beds–over which Azerbaijan has already signed agreemen’s with the Azeri International Oil Company (AIOC) to extract oil–belong to Ashgabad and not to Azerbaijan. A meeting between the foreign ministers of the countries concerned is expected to be held in Moscow in the coming week to sort out their differences over the Caspian Sea disputes.

Meanwhile Halefov has also blamed Russia for destabilizing the region by providing military equipment to Armenia. Halefov stated that Russia has been threatening not only the security of Azerbaijan–but of all the region. Stressing that Baku would tell the world of Russia’s military aid to Armenia unless Yerevan ended its occupation of Azeri soil–Halefov nevertheless said Russia’s stance vis–vis the peace efforts had been positive.

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