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    MAJOR CASPIAN PROBLEMS TO BE DISCUSSED IN MOSCOW

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    MOSCOW, April 5, 2004 - (RIA Novosti). A meeting of the foreign ministers of the Caspian states will consider major problems of the Caspian Sea. The resolution of these issues goes beyond the competence of the working group on the Caspian, said Viktor Kalyuzhny, deputy foreign minister of Russia and special presidential representative for the Caspian Sea.

    According to him, as of today the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea was "over 60 % coordinated" in particular he noted, that the convention on meteorology issues was agreed upon at the recent session of the working group in Baku.

    On the agenda of tomorrow's meeting of five Caspian foreign ministers in Moscow will be issues of demilitarization, free shipping, borders in the Caspian water area and free passage via Russia's internal waters.

    Replying to RIA Novosti's question, Viktor Kalyuzhny stressed that Moscow is coming out for the creation of the system of common government on the Caspian Sea.

    According to him, equally concerns the use of hydrocarbons, biological resources, the issue of the demilitarization of the Caspian Sea. Also on the agenda is the implementation of bilateral projects relating to the laying of an oil pipeline on the bottom of the Caspian Sea. Kazakhstan stated recently that in order to diversify its foreign oil and gas markets it intended to pump part of its oil along the southern route - via the Baku-Ceyhan (Turkey) pipeline which is being built by the international consortium; and lay another one on the Caspian Sea bottom for this purpose.

    In Moscow's opinion, Kalyuzhny said, there must be no borders on the Caspian, as the existence of such borders will create inconveniences in resolving all above-mentioned problems (demilitarization, free shipping, etc.) which subsequently are sure to be felt by all the Caspian states.

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