26 January 2005 -- Turkmenistan's Foreign Ministry says the drawn-out negotiations on the legal status of the oil-rich Caspian Sea has helped foster tensions and conflicts.
The ministry's statement was issued today about talks among the five littoral states -- Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Iran. If said if the talks fail to provide mutually acceptable decisions, Turkmenistan would appeal to international organizations, including the United Nations.
The statement came one week after an exchange of harsh words between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan over a disputed oil field in the Caspian Sea.
Turkmenistan signed a deal with Canadian company Buried Hill Energy to develop an oil field Turkmenistan calls Serdar, which Azerbaijan also claims it owns.
Azerbaijan's state oil company said it would not allow Turkmenistan to start development of the disputed field.
Agreements on the legal status of the Caspian Sea date back to 1921 and 1940 and were signed by Iran and the Soviet Union.