Ashgabat, 24 April 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The leaders of the five Caspian Sea littoral states concluded their two-day summit in Ashgabat today by admitting they could not bridge the differences in opinion over how to best divide and use the sea's resources. Host Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov said there were too many issues to resolve at this first summit of the presidents of Kazakhstan, Iran, Russia, and Azerbaijan. Niyazov said in the absence of any agreement the five presidents decided not to sign any new documents concerning the sea's legal status or use of the biological and hydrocarbon resources.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said the leaders agreed to have future summits aimed at resolving differences over the sea and suggested the next summit be held in spring 2003 in Tehran.
The only existing agreements on the Caspian are the Soviet-Iranian agreements of 1921 and 1940, which call for a 50-50 split of the sea and its resources.