[A-List] Iran, Russia, and the Caspian
critical.montages at gmail.com
Sat Jun 23 00:48:49 MDT 2007
Opinion & analysis
What the Russian papers say
20:00 | 21/ 06/ 2007
MOSCOW, June 21 (RIA Novosti) President Putin could visit Iran this
year/ Iran is Russia's only ally on the Caspian/ Old World needs no
new deterrence policy against Russia - expert/ Aeroflot to buy Boeing
and Airbus airliners/ European Commission sides with Lithuania in its
oil dispute with Russia
President Putin could visit Iran this year
Russian President Vladimir Putin could make an official visit to Iran
before the end of 2007, something Iran has long been waiting for to
strengthen its position in its standoff with the West.
Putin has found more than one reason to avoid the visit until now.
This time experts say the president could consent to visit Iran at the
close of his second term in office.
The foreign ministers of Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and
Turkmenistan met in Tehran Wednesday to discuss the legal status of
the Caspian Sea. The ministers discussed the upcoming preparations for
the second summit of the five Caspian littoral states to be held in
Tehran. No crucial decisions are planned to be made there.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the five leaders would
propose adopting a document stipulating some general regulations for
using the Caspian Sea's resources. The date of the Tehran summit would
be announced later.
It follows that Putin is now facing his first chance in the past eight
years to make an official visit to a country the West has labeled a
"rogue state" and "a threat to international security." The Russian
Foreign Ministry does not see any obstacles to the visit, and its
deputy press spokesman Andrei Krivtsov said Putin would go to Iran if
they reach a decision on the Tehran summit.
Russia and Iran regularly mention their friendly bilateral relations,
but Putin has never made an official visit to the country. His visit
was planned two years ago, and slated for January, then April, but
never actually took place.
Middle East expert Arkady Dubnov said the current Tehran talks of the
five Caspian states' ministers would pave the way for President Putin
to attend the projected summit.
Another expert, Radzhab Safarov of the Center of Modern Iranian
Studies in Moscow, echoed his colleague, saying the Caspian summit in
Tehran would provide Putin with a good opportunity to visit Iran and
preserve his reputation of a moderate politician.
Iran is Russia's only ally on the Caspian
Russia has decided to move discussions on the Caspian issue to the
very top, presidential, level.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday the five countries
having access to the Caspian Sea (Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan,
Iran, Azerbaijan) should address two problems: defining the Caspian
Sea borders and military operations in the area.
Moscow does not accept the suggestion being promoted by Kazakhstan,
Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan that the sea should be divided into
national sectors. These countries have unilaterally established
sovereignty over "their" sectors.
According to informed sources, dividing the sea into national sectors
would seriously affect Russia's fishing industry, because the sector
proposed for Russia has limited fish stocks.
The division would also make it easier to lay pipelines along the sea
bed from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to Europe bypassing Russia.
In addition, the coastal states could agree to the military presence
of non-Caspian countries on their territory, which Russia wants to
prevent at all costs.
Moscow believes that the weak links in the five Caspian countries are
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan, which have been moving closer to the West
over military issues.
Baku has devised several pretexts to reject Russia's proposal for an
agreement preventing foreign warships entering the region and setting
up CasFor, a joint naval force of the Caspian Sea countries. At the
same time, it favors the U.S.-funded Caspian Guard Initiative, which
envisions improving the capabilities of the naval forces of Azerbaijan
Kazakhstan, whose policy on the above Russian initiative appears to be
a bit more flexible, is promoting the idea of leveling off the coastal
countries' armaments. Under that initiative, Russia would have to
seriously cut its military weapons in the region.
So Iran appears to be Russia's only ally in the Caspian region. It
likes the CasFor idea and does not support plans for building
pipelines bypassing Russia. The next Caspian summit will be held in
Tehran, where Moscow may have more chances of getting the upper hand
in debates with its opponents.
News numbre: 8603310186
16:14 | 2007-06-21
Iran Reaching out for Caspian Sea Cooperation Project
TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- At the opening ceremony of the meeting of
Foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea States, Iranian Foreign Minister
Manouchehr Mottaki called on his colleagues to embark on a new era of
cooperation and turn the Caspian Sea into an area of economic
prosperity and political stability.
Mottaki underscored that although the Caspian Sea is an important link
connecting the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Republic of Azerbaijan,
the Republic of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation,
"Iran believes that the Caspian Sea's great potential for expanding
the littoral states' political, economic and cultural ties has not
been properly utilized."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared himself confident that
the conference would produce great results, proposing the previous
Iran-Russia agreements on the Caspian Sea be used as the foundation of
the region's economical, political and cultural future cooperation.
During talks with Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Maharram Mammadyarov,
Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and Kazakh Foreign Minister
Marat Tazhin the issues that surfaced as cardinal hinges of a future
Caspian Sea cooperation centered around problems related to the
control of arms and drug smuggling, environment, the streamlining of
legal regimes and last not least, the role of military forces,
pipeline projects, border demarcation and questions of fishing rights.
Today: Saturday June 23, 2007
Iran, Azerbaijan call for expansion of bilateral relations
Tehran, June 21, IRNA
Visiting Azeri Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov conferred on
Thursday with Majlis Speaker Gholam Ali Haddad Adel on expansion of
relations between the two
According to the Majlis Press Bureau, at the meeting, Haddad Adel
called the two sides relations as friendly and brotherly and said both
countries shared deeply rooted historical, religious and cultural
Consolidation of ties with neighboring countries is among priorities
of Iran's foreign policy, he said adding that it is vital for both
countries to increase exchange of visits by the two sides officials.
Expressing satisfaction with successful holding of the one-day
ministerial meeting of the Caspian Sea littoral states in Tehran, he
said "In our opinion if the Islamic and regional countries manage to
resolve their own problems, there will be remain no room for foreign
countries to interfere in our affairs."
Given the presence of the US in the region, he said the history
indicates that where the Americans have stepped in its problems have
doubled just as what is going on in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
Thanking for an invitation extended to him by his Azeri counterpart to
pay an official visit to Azerbaijan, he said "I hope my visit to Baku
will lead to further expansion of relations mainly in parliamentary
The Azeri foreign minister, for his part, gave a brief report on the
one-day meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian Sea littoral
states and expressed satisfaction with it.
"We have prepared a draft resolution for the summit of the Caspian Sea
littoral states, he said.
He also described the two sides relations as very good and underlined
that there is no political dispute between the two countries.
As an independent country, the Republic of Azerbaijan never lets
anyone mar relations between the two countries, he underlined.
He also voiced satisfaction with growing ties between the two
countries and called for more efforts to further broaden mutual ties.
Iranian President: Caspian states should settle their problems without
[ 21 Jun 2007 15:14 ]
"The legal status of the Caspian Sea needs a long-term approach and
evaluating its recourses", Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said
during the reception of Foreign Ministers of the littoral states of
the Caspian Sea, APA reports. He said Caspian Sea has enough precious
recourse to provide all littoral states.
"The Caspian States have shared cultures, interests and enemies.
Taking it into consideration we should settle problems in a short
period, using resources for the interests and welfare of our peoples.
Some world powers try to use the issue of Caspian Sea status to
inspire states of the region into confrontation. I consider that the
Caspian states should settle their problems without external
interference. Some states are interested only in oil and other energy
recourses of the region. But regional states should take care of
security and ecological problems. We are able to settle these problems
together," Iranian president underlined./APA/
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