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Russia: Azerbaijani President Arrives in Moscow

Moscow, 23 September 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev arrived in Moscow today and plans to discuss cooperation between his country and Russia on energy issues, including a controversial plan to divide up the Caspian Sea. Aliyev is scheduled to meet with Russia President Vladimir Putin to discuss, in particular, the use of the Caspian Sea's resources and protection of the environment in the Caspian basin.

The two presidents are due to sign an agreement on their national sectors in the Caspian Sea.

Ahead of that deal, Iran today repeated its opposition to any bilateral accords that define sectors in the Caspian Sea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid-Reza Assefi told reporters his country considers such agreements invalid.

Iran has resisted proposals to divide the sea and its resources into national sectors. Tehran favors the so-called "condominium" approach under which the Caspian's resources would be developed by all five littoral states and any profits shared equally among them.