By Nigar Orujova
Azerbaijan supports addressing the Caspian Sea's legal status while taking into account the littoral states' sovereign rights.
The remarks were made by Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov at a meeting of the Caspian littoral states' foreign ministers in Moscow on April 22.
The ministers of five Caspian littoral states - Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan- discussed preparations for the Caspian summit which will be held in autumn in Astrakhan.
Azerbaijan reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the issues related to cooperation areas, including the Caspian Sea's legal status- taking the littoral states' sovereign rights into account- and mutually beneficial partnerships through peaceful means and negotiations, he said.
"Preparing a full agenda and adopting the final documents of the Caspian states' summit, which is scheduled to be held in autumn in Astrakhan, will contribute to a substantial progress in coordinating the fundamental principles of the Caspian agenda and strengthening the existing framework for cooperation between the Caspian states," Mammadyarov noted.
The Foreign Ministers of five Caspian littoral countries coordinated more principles that will provide the basis for Convention on the Caspian Sea's legal status, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after a ministerial conference, ITAR-TASS reported.
"These are the delimitation of maritime spaces and measures to save the population of sturgeons as an endangered species," he said.
The ministers also confirmed their commitment to the principles of equality and joint interests, he said.
"Several documents, including a document on the key principles for Convention on the Caspian Sea's legal status, will be ready for the summit," Lavrov added.
The five Caspian littoral states signed the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea in November 2003. The legal status of the sea is still a matter of discussion between the littoral states.
While Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia agreed on the delimitation of the sea in early 2000, the other littoral states -Turkmenistan and Iran- have not reached a consensus yet.