Azerbaijan, Baku, Sept. 12 / Trend S. Agayeva /
The Caspian littoral countries have achieved progress while coordinating certain provisions of the draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Khalaf Khalafov said at a press conference following the meeting of the working group of the Caspian countries on the determination of the sea status on Thursday.
"Progress has been achieved at the 33rd meeting of the working group of the Caspian countries in Baku on Wednesday and Thursday," he said.
"A meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian countries will be held in the first half of next year," Khalafov said.
The agreement was reached during a meeting of the working group of the Caspian littoral countries in Baku, Khalafov said.
The preparation for the summit of the heads of states, to be held in Russia next year, will be the purpose of the ministerial meeting, he said.
"A communiqué was adopted following the Baku meeting," he added. "The sides agreed to exchange the views on the methodology for baseline dividing lines at the next meeting."
The determination of the Caspian Sea status is an issue concerning all Caspian littoral countries, he said.
"Therefore, it is necessary to come to a consensus on this issue, to take into account the national interests of these countries and to find common ground," Khalafov said.
The parties failed to reach an agreement on a number of issues, particularly in ecology and other issues during the meetings of the 33rd working group, he said.
"However, a number of questions still remain open," he said. "The security issues and the seabed delimitation are among them."
The 33rd meeting of the working group on the determination of the Caspian Sea status at the level of deputy foreign ministers of five Caspian littoral countries - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran is being held in Baku on September 11-12.
The Caspian littoral states (Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkmenistan and Iran) signed a Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea in November 2003.
In July 1998, Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the northern part of the Sea in order to exercise sovereign rights for subsoil use and in May 2002, a Protocol to the Agreement.
On November 29, 2001 and February 27, 2003, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea.
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement on the delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea on May 14, 2003.
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