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US attempted to meddle in talks on Caspian Sea status — Russian diplomat

A number of states outside the region supported a project to divide the Capian Sea waters into national sectors, effectively closing them for the Russian military fleet

MOSCOW, September 14. /TASS/. A number of states outside the Caspian Sea region, including the United States, tried to interfere into the negotiations on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, Russian Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador at-large Igor Bratchikov said.

"Throughout the entire 20-year period of negotiations, until the very last moment, there were attempts by non-regional players to influence the talks… The countries far away from the region, including those not situated on the Eurasian continent, showed interest in the Caspian Sea," the diplomat said in an interview with the Kommersant daily published on Thursday evening, adding that the United States were among those countries.

Bratchikov said a number of states outside the region supported a project to divide the Capian Sea waters into national sectors and thus to close them for the Russian military fleet.

"As far as your question about splitting the Caspian Sea into national sectors, the Russian Federation objected this from the very beginning, suggesting that only the seabed should be among the states, leaving the water in the free use by all countries," the ambassador added.

As a compromise, the convention, signed earlier this year, envisions the 15-mile-wide area of territorial waters and an adjacent ten-mile-wide fishing zone, whereas other areas of the Caspian Sea will be shared by all littoral states under the convention.

At the fifth Caspian summit, which took place on August 12, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Iran Hasan Rouhani, President of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov inked the document determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Work on the document had continued since 1996, while the five nations’ foreign ministers agreed its draft on December 4-5, 2017 in Moscow.