Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan plan to settle controversy over Caspian deposits

Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are planning to settle the issue of controversial offshore oil and gas deposits on the Caspian. Turkmenia's President Saparmurat Niyazov, speaking on national television, said that "we have a bit of misunderstanding with Azerbaijan on the Osman and Omar deposits" (in the Azeri designation Chirag and Azeri), located in the Caspian Sea. According to the president, borders showing "what belongs to whom" have not yet been defined. "We will find a peaceful solution through international law," the president of Turkmenia said. "We will not quarrel. If we fail to agree, we will turn to international organisations, ask them to act as arbitrators, and request that they do the demarcation," Niyazov emphasised. According to him, during his meeting with Azerbaijan's President Geydar Aliyev agreement was reached to continue the negotiations. "We will appoint delegations, they will set up a group, we will carry out negotiations and decide the issue," Niyazov said. It is considered in Turkmenistan that through bilateral action it is feasible to settle the ten-year conflict between the two sea-bordering states. The president of Turkmenia also noted that as early as 1992 Turkmenia sent proposals to the parliament of Azerbaijan on sea delimitation, but they were left unanswered. Now, in Niyazov's view, there is every chance to end the dispute and find a just solution.

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