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Pipeline construction issues in Caspian Sea area to be settled by 5 littoral states

The five littoral states of the Caspian Sea are Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan

MOSCOW, September 22. /ITAR-TASS/. All issues regarding possible construction of gas pipelines along the seabed of the Caspian Sea must be made based on the consensus between the five littoral states, a Russian special presidential envoy said on Monday.

In an interview with Caspian Energy magazine Igor Bratchikov, Russia’s special presidential envoy for the delimitation and demarcation of borders with CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) countries, said, “The five Caspian states assumed a political obligation that all major issues concerning the activity in the Caspian Sea will be addressed on basis of the consensus of the littoral states.”

The five littoral states of the Caspian Sea are Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

“We think that construction of the main TransCaspian pipelines refers to such types of issues,” he said. “The consequences of construction and operation of a 'pipeline' in an enclosed water body that has a high seismic activity and tectonics of its bed are unpredictable, in case of any accident it can impact all coastal states and not only those which shores are connected with the pipeline.”

“It can jeopardize vital interests of millions of citizens of the Caspian states, either the residents of the Russian Dagestan or densely populated Iranian coast,” Bratchikov said. “I would like the TransCaspian gas pipeline project lobbyists living thousands kilometers away from the Caspian would be conscious of this reality reflected in the Russian position.”

Presidents of Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are scheduled to gather for the 4th Caspian Sea summit on September 29 in the Russian southern city of Astrakhan.

Bratchikov earlier said Moscow hoped that the process of working out a legal status of the Caspian Sea will get a significant boost following the 4th Caspian Summit. The previous Caspian Summit was held in 2010 in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku.