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    CASPIAN STATE FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSS CONVENTION ON LEGAL STATUS OF CASPIAN SEA

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    MOSCOW, April 6, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - The foreign ministers of the Caspian states are meeting in Moscow to draft a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

    The participants in the meeting intend to analyze the previous talks on drafting a convention and preparing agreements on cooperation in activities in the Caspian Sea. They will also discuss beginning preparations for a second Caspian summit.

    The issues that the special working group on the Caspian Sea does not have the authority to make decisions on will dominate the second meeting of the foreign ministers of the Caspian states, which opened on Tuesday.

    The foreign ministers of the Caspian states created the Caspian Sea working group at their first meeting in Askhabad in 1996. The participants in the current meeting noted that the working group accomplished many things in preparing a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Yesterday, Viktor Kalyuzhny, a special envoy of the Russian president for the Caspian Sea, noted that today the convention on the Caspian Sea's legal status "is more than 60% ready."

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi, Kazakh Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev, Turkmen Foreign Minister Rashid Meredov and Khalaf Khalafov, the Azeri president's special representative for the Caspian Sea, are participating in the meeting.

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