A joint Russian-Iranian statement yesterday claimed that any type of economic activity on the Caspian littoral must be approved by the five coastal states; that before the Caspian’s legal status is defined, any unilateral action by coastal states to develop natural resources would be impermissible; and that defining that status is strictly a matter for the five regional states without outside interference. Deputy prime minister Aleksey Bolshakov (who handles relations with CIS countries) signed the statement for Russia during a visit to Tehran. (15)
Notwithstanding the opposition of Russia and Iran, coastal states have gone ahead and signed oil and gas deals with Western companies. Russia’s oil and energy complex is also at odds with the Russian foreign ministry on this issue. But is noteworthy that Bolshakov, who handles relations with CIS countries in the Russian government, has taken a clear-cut stand against the interests of his CIS partners.
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