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  Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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Moscow continues to insist that the five nations bordering the Caspian Sea
Moscow continues to insist that the five nations bordering the Caspian Sea, in essence the world's largest lake, use its resources collectively, a Russian ambassador at large said Thursday. The Caspian Sea issue has long been under discussion among its five littoral states - Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran - which have tried to divide the sea's substantial reserves, including oil, natural gas and fish, particularly its caviar-bearing sturgeon. "We are interested in collectively exploiting resources, not building fences, and that is what Russia's approach to the problem is based on," Alexander Golovin told the State Duma, parliament's lower house. It is Russia's position that collective efforts are needed to save sea resources from depletion and the environmental threat. Golovin said a convention on the status of the Caspian Sea that is being worked out aims to introduce single regulations for administering and saving Caspian biological resources. "We have agreed on 70-80% of the text of the convention, but resistance will increase the farther we advance, which is why I cannot say when the convention will be ready," the diplomat said. Golovin said difficulties in drafting the convention made some parties doubt the necessity for such a document. "I think we cannot do without the new convention," he said. He said the parties must comply with previously attained agreements until the document is prepared. "We cannot allow chaos to set in on the Caspian Sea while the document is being prepared," Golovin added. He said the production of energy resources continues where the countries have agreed on the delimitation of subsoil use, but work cannot begin in adjacent zones where conflicts have arisen. Golovin said agreements on subsoil use delimitation have been reached between Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijan and Iran have not yet reached a similar accord. "The convention is also needed because the development of agreements in such sectors as commercial shipping, preservation of biological resources and cooperation in hydrometeorology is impossible without such a document," the diplomat said. He added that the document was also needed to develop interaction among the littoral states in protecting the Caspian region.
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