Representatives from the Caspian littoral states ofKazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Iran–Turkmenistan wasinvited but did not send any delegates–met in Alma-Ata May 16 to discuss thestatus of the Caspian Sea, Interfax reported. Moscow wants the Caspian Sea tobe legally reclassified as a lake. If that were to happen, the Russiangovernment would have a voice in all exploitation of oil there and thus haveyet another way to control the flow of oil in this region. Azerbaijan andKazakhstan argue that the Caspian Sea is an enclosed sea, a status that wouldallow them to develop oil extraction in their sectors without reference toMoscow. Iran, which already has agreements with Moscow on its portion of theCaspian, does not want any change in the current status.
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