Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 141

. Russia’s Foreign Ministry has handed Azerbaijan a diplomatic note rejecting the definition of Azerbaijan’s sector of the Caspian Sea as a part of Azerbaijan’s territory. That definition is contained in Azerbaijan’s constitution published as a draft shortly before its adoption in the November 12 referendum. But the Russian note equally concerns the other CIS countries riparian to the Caspian Sea — Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The note reaffirms Russia’s principle that Caspian resources are the common property of the riparian countries, and that Moscow only recognizes the countries’ right to a 10-mile economic zone exclusively for fishing. Russia considers the countries’ claims to sectoral division as an unlawful "unilateral seizure," and reserves the right to take "appropriate measures" at a suitable time. (9)

The doctrine reaffirmed in the note is designed to support Russia’s claim to a share of the oil and gas resources of other CIS countries on the Caspian littoral. In a parallel move, Russia’s Gazprom monopoly is becoming involved in the project to build the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline, designed to bring 30 million tons of Azerbaijani and Kazakh oil annually to Western markets on an indirect route, after diverting that oil via Russia. (10) Gazprom might supply at least some of the investment capital that has until now eluded the project. The pipeline’s planned capacity indicates Moscow’s intention to divert and control a very sizeable share of the oil exports of its Caspian partners in the CIS.

Latvia’s Polarized Parliament Gives The Left A Chance.