Viktor Kalyuzhny, Russian president's special envoy for the Caspian Sea issue, arrives in Iran

Viktor Kalyuzhny, deputy foreign minister of the Russian Federation and the Russian president's special envoy for the Caspian Sea issue, has come to Iran on a working visit. During his two-day visit, Kalyuzhny will discuss with the Iranian side the drafting of the final document for the forthcoming summit of Caspian states' leaders. The summit is scheduled to be held in Turkmenistan on April 14 and 15.

Before this visit, the Russian president's special envoy held similar consultations in Astana (Kazakhstan), Ashkhabad (Turkmenia) and Baku (Azerbaijan). As of today, Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan advocate the division of energy resources of the sea bed between the neighbouring countries and those situated on the other shore of the sea from the middle "line", leaving the Caspian sea waters in common use. Meanwhile, Turkmenia deems it necessary to divide both the sea bed and the water area into national sectors. In its turn, Iran insists on two options: either not to divide anything, or divide the sea into national sectors, but in accordance with the condominium principle, that is, giving every state 20 percent of the sea bed and the water area.

For Russia, it is of principal importance that the Caspian-5 group should come to an agreement on the Caspian Sea's new status. Moscow continues to keep to the view that the solution of this problem is possible only on the basis of a consensus between all Caspian states. At the same time, Moscow believes that there are some problems within the whole range of Caspian issues that require their immediate solution. Among them are such issues as the preservation of marine biological resources, ecological safety, the laying of oil and gas pipelines on the sea bed, and the setting up of an interstate Caspian monitoring centre.

Russia's and Iran's positions on these issues largely coincide, or are rather close, which was reflected in the joint Russian-Iranian statement on the Caspian Sea. The statement was signed by the two countries' presidents during the Iranian president's recent visit to Moscow.

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