Minister: Iran and Azerbaijan must agree on water use from River Araz
Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 21 / Trend A. Akhundov /
If Iran wants to use water from the River Araz to fill drought stricken Lake Urmia, it must coordinate this issue with Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources Huseyn Bagirov said today.
"The decision on this issue can only be taken on the basis of the existing agreements," the minister told the media today.
He said that there is agreement on the joint use of the River Araz by Azerbaijan and Iran.
"If the Iranian side officially appeals to us, all aspects of the issue, not only from the environmental, but also political, economic and other aspects may be thoroughly analysed.
"The agreements signed between Azerbaijan and Iran have determined the environmental norms and water volumes that can be used by the parties, as well as which equipment and facilities can be established and built on this river, "he said.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has allocated $135 million to Iran to resolve its environmental problems with shoaling at Lake Urmia. The Iranian government allocated $900 million for this purpose in September 2011.
A project to direct 600 million cubic meters of water from the River Araz into Lake Urmia was launched during a visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and members of the government to Tabriz in 2010. It was planned to allocate $1.2 billion to implement this project.