Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 123

Russia and Iran are preparing a joint statement opposing any division of the Caspian Sea into national sectors or national economic zones, Moscow officials said as a governmental delegation flew to Tehran yesterday. The joint statement "will be tougher than statements Russia previously signed with former Soviet republics," the officials said. Russian and Iranian officials will also discuss the Russian draft of a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, and will consider joint measures to prevent "any unilateral alteration of that status." Deputy prime minister Aleksei Bolshakov heads the Russian delegation. (14)

Anti-western Iran shares Russia’s opposition to Western development of the oil and gas resources of former Soviet republics on the Caspian Sea, but it has, at times, indicated that it may be mollified if given an even minor stake in the projects. The Russian-prepared draft legal status has been rejected by Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan and ignored by Turkmenistan. The choice of Bolshakov, who is responsible for CIS affairs, to lead the delegation is an additional indication that Moscow will target the interests of those three Caspian countries in the Tehran talks.

1. Russian agencies, October 22 through 25

2. NTV, Russian TV, Itar-Tass, October 28

3. Interfax, October 29

4. Petroleum Information Agency, October 27

5. Radio-1 and Russian TV, October 26 and 27

6. Interfax, October 29

7. BNS, October 27

8. Igor Savolsky, deputy head of the foreign ministry’s third European department

9. Interfax-Ukraine, October 28

10. Itar-Tass, October 26

11. Molod Ukrainy, October 10

12. Basapress, October 28

13. Interfax, October 27

14. Interfax, October 28

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