Turkmenistan & Iran Agree on Caspian Joint Devel. Project

Turkmenistan and Iran have are close to reaching a formal agreement on the division of the southern sector of the Caspian Sea and on the joint development of resources in the sea. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister and special representative on the Caspian Mekhdi Safari is heading his country's delegation at the talks, while the Turkmen delegation is headed by Deputy Prime Minister responsible for the oil and gas industry Yolly Kurbanmuradov. According to a report from Interfax, Turkmenistan and Iran plan to divide the sea bed between them "in strict accordance with the UN convention on maritime law and the norms and principles of international law," which corresponds with agreements reached during a recent visit by Turkmenistani President Saparmurad Niyazov to Teheran.

Both sides have agreed in principle to jointly explore and develop border offshore blocks in the southern sector of the Caspian, which contain significant hydrocarbon reserves.

Earlier Turkmenistan and Iran expected to reach joint agreement between the five Caspian states to establish the status of the sea and resolve associated problems. Recently, an accord has been reached between Iran and Turkmenistan in their approach to the problem of dividing the sea into national sectors.