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    ALIYEV CONSIDERS AS FAIR CASPIAN SEA SECTORAL DIVISION

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    BAKU/MOSCOW, February 2 /RIA Novosti/- President of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev considers it fair for the littoral states to divide the Caspian Sea by sectors. He expressed this opinion on Monday in an interview with RIA Novosti on the eve of his visit to Russia.

    "The main thing is to divide the sea fairly on the basis of the sectoral principle. That is why, the existing experience should lay the basis for a final solution of the issue," Aliyev said.

    In his opinion, the principle of dividing the Caspian Sea into five equal parts, as some states propose, proved to be completely non-viable after Russia, the largest country in the Caspian Sea region, gave up this principle. "In actual fact, it never adhered to that principle," Aliyev noted.

    "I believe that the accords on the division of the Caspian Sea concluded between Russia and Azerbaijan, Russia and Kazakhstan, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan should lay the basis for a comprehensive agreement as this is a good experience both from the legal and political points of view," Aliyev said.

    He admitted that initially Russia and Azerbaijan had seriously disagreed on this issue.

    "However, we managed to overcome them and resolve the problem to our mutual satisfaction. That is why, I believe that our experience should be taken as the basis," the Azeri President said.

    The need to determine the international and legal status of the Caspian Sea emerged after disintegration of the USSR and the establishment of independent states - Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenia. Until 1997 the status of the Caspian Sea was discussed within a five-side format by all the littoral states (Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenia).

    In the winter of 1998 Russia and Kazakhstan signed a bilateral agreement on the delimitation of the seabed in the northern portion of the Caspian Sea. In 2001 Russia and Azerbaijan signed a bilateral document stipulating the division of the seabed according to the sectoral principle.

    The bilateral documents, which have been adopted, divide the seabed between the bordering states by the median line modified upon agreement on the basis of the principle of fairness.

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