MOSCOW, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - The Caspian Five have achieved significant progress during talks on the settlement of the legal status of the Caspian Sea, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday.
"We have reviewed the course of the work of the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea, and we have noted significant progress including the progress reached during our talks today," Lavrov said.
Lavrov noted that the Caspian Five - Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan - could reach a significant rapprochement on the issue of delimitation of maritime territory.
"We paid special attention to the fulfilment of those tasks that were adopted at the summit in Baku in the fall of 2010 and first of all, the issues of differentiation of marine territories, and we have a significant rapprochement on this matter," Lavrov said.
The foreign ministers of the five countries met in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss the preparations for the 4th Caspian Summit scheduled for September in the southern Russian city of Astrakhan.
The Caspian Sea is the largest landlocked body of water in the world. Large fishery resources, as well as vast oil and gas deposits have made the Caspian Sea a subject of heated territorial disputes.
For decades, the inland sea was the exclusive domain of the USSR and Iran, but after the collapse of the Soviet Union new players emerged to claim an interest in the region. Since 1992 the Caspian Five have been engaged in negotiations related to the demarcation of rights in the sea.