Russia Calls for Closer Cooperation on Caspian Sea Issues

MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) – Moscow sees a need for enhanced cooperation between the countries bordering the Caspian Sea to boost discussion on mutual issues, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.

“It is obvious now that the shared trans-Caspian agenda necessitates the strengthening of further cooperation mechanisms and, possibly, the creation of new forums to ensure the effectiveness of efforts,” Lavrov said during a meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states in Moscow.

The implementation of the goals agreed during a previous summit is also high on the agenda, the Russian foreign minister added.

“Following the results of the 3rd Caspian Summit in Baku in 2010, our presidents outlined a series of specific targets related to the legal status of the Caspian Sea – to elaborate the principles of the delimitation of water areas and in the security sphere,” Lavrov said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that the common goal of the Caspian states is to prevent a military buildup in the region.

“To turn the Caspian Sea into a sea of peace, friendliness and stability, to refrain from an arms race, to give up the use of military force and to prevent the non-coastal states from deploying their troops, are the major conditions to secure peace and stability in the region,” he said.

The foreign ministers of the five Caspian littoral countries – Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan – met in Moscow Tuesday to discuss the preparations for the 4th Caspian Summit, slated for September 2014 in the Russian city of Astrakhan.

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