Ambassador Feliks Kovalev, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s working group on Caspian issues, announced yesterday that Russia has decided to accept the delimitation of national sectors and economic zones in that sea up to 40 miles from the shore. Beyond that limit, Moscow continues to insist on creating a zone of common jurisdiction of the five riparian countries, Kovalev said. He unsuccessfully presented that proposal at talks on the Caspian Sea’s status recently held by the five in Tehran. Vladimir Lukin, chairman of the Duma’s Foreign Affairs Commission and a delegate to the talks, stated that Iran shared Russia’s position in seeking to "limit foreign intervention" in the Caspian Sea.
Azerbaijani foreign minister Hassan Hassanov acknowledged the evolution in Russia’s position, which had until now rejected any sectoral division. But Hassanov commented publicly that any "common jurisdiction" zone would seriously complicate the development of oil and gas resources. He predicted that Moscow would eventually accept that there is no substitute for sectoral delimitation as set out in international law. (Interfax, Turan, October 28; IRNA, October 27)
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