Lavrov said that "preventing the threat posed by the presence of forces of third countries would guarantee that no causes for conflicts will emerge" in the region. He was speaking at a working group meeting on the legal status of the sea.
Lavrov recalled Russia's proposal for all five Caspian Sea nations to form a joint naval force. The other states had previously responded cautiously to the proposal.
Lavrov also said Russia hoped that negotiations on the legal status of the Caspian Sea will soon be finalized. Iran has insisted that each of the five coastal states get an equal portion of the seabed, while most other countries want the division based on shoreline.
(ITAR-TASS, Interfax, AP)
Caspian Energy Special
For a complete archive of RFE/RL's coverage of energy issues in the Caspian Sea region and Russia, click here.
HOW MUCH OIL? The U.S. Energy Information Administration has estimated that the Caspian could hold between 17 billion and 33 billion barrels of proven oil. ("Proven reserves" are defined by energy experts to be 90 percent probable.) Other experts estimate the Caspian could hold "possible reserves" of up to 233 billion barrels of oil. ("Possible reserves" are considered to be 50 percent probable.) By comparison, Saudi Arabia has 261 billion barrels of oil and the United States 23 billion...(more)