Agreement on delimitation of Caspian Sea bottom may be signed during Azerbaijani president's visit to Russia

Moscow does not exclude the possibility of signing the agreement on delimitation of the Caspian Sea bottom during a working visit to St. Petersburg by Azerbaijani President Geidar Aliyev. A RIA Novosti correspondent was told about it by informed sources in Moscow.

"The sides have agreed in principle to sign such an agreement," a source said. "Negotiations are going on to coordinate the last details." The source said a protocol on determining de jure the geographical coordinates of the Russo-Azeri point on the so-called "medium line" on the sea bottom could also be signed.

The source reminded the correspondent that such an agreement and such a protocol have been already signed between Russia and Kazakhstan. According to him, the legitimacy of these documents does not arouse doubts - they have been signed "in accordance with international norms recognised in such cases." At the present time, Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have put forth their common proposal to divide the bottom and make the surface of the Sea common. The positions of these countries are reflected in the statement on the principles of cooperation between Russia and Azerbaijan in the Caspian Sea and the treaty on cooperation between Russia and Kazakhstan which were signed in January 2001.

Somewhat different positions are shared by two other Caspian countries. For example, Iran insists on the condominium principle (the common use of the Sea) and if this is impossible, then to divide the Caspian Sea into five equal parts. Turkmenia also proposes to divide the bottom but not into equal parts, as Iran proposes, but proceeding from the existing state frontiers.

The visit by the President of Azerbaijan to St. Petersburg has been scheduled for June 9th.

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