MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow opposes the division of the Caspian Sea into national sectors of the coastal states, the Russian president’s envoy for border demarcation issues said Monday.
"The Russian side does not adhere to the viewpoint that the Caspian Sea should be divided into sectors," Russian ambassador-at-large Igor Bratchikov said at a press conference held at Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
The diplomat said that the Russian side from the very beginning has been opposed to the division of the Caspian Sea. But Moscow has agreed to build the so-called Caspian national belts, covering an area of about 25 miles from the coast.
"I would like to emphasize that the total water space is reserved under these national belts," Bratchikov said.
The issue of the legal status of the Caspian Sea came to the fore following the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the emergence of new subjects of international law - the states of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan - raised the question of the delimitation of the Caspian Sea among the five countries (Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan). The complexity of determining the status of the Caspian Sea is related, in particular, to the recognition of it as a lake or as a sea, a distinction which is regulated by different provisions of international law.