Turkmen President Hopes Caspian States Will Gather For Summit This Year

While speaking with the press on Wednesday after an Ashkhabad meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov said he hoped that the Caspian states would gather for a summit this year. According to him, he intends to discuss the issue of convening such a summit during a working visit to Moscow in January and during Ashkhabad consultations with the Iranian President coming this March. At the same time, "we should not hurry with timing the summit to any date," Saparmurat Niyazov stressed. He stated that the five Caspian states had no differences on holding a summit to work out a new legal status of the Caspian Sea. However, the President stressed, the summit "should not necessarily result in fixing such a status. It is necessary to exchange opinions on the principles and ways of working out such a status," the Turkmen President said.