Caspian Sea is no place for extra-regional powers, Salehi tells Kazakh FM

Oct 10. Tehran Times. TEHRAN

Caspian Sea is no place for extra-regional powers, Salehi tells Kazakh FMIranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said that the Caspian Sea belongs to the five littoral states and no extra-regional power should be allowed to have a presence in the sea.

Salehi made the remarks during a joint press conference with his Kazakh counterpart Yerzhan Kazykhanov in Tehran late on Saturday.

The Iranian foreign minister stated that there should be no foreign interference and no foreign military presence in the Caspian Sea region.

He also commented on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea and said any decision on the sea should be made with the consensus of all littoral states.

The minister also said that Iran attaches great significance to the Caspian Sea environment.

National and shared waters are among the issues that should be agreed upon, he said, adding that based on the necessity of discussing the issues Iran is pursuing a consensus among all littoral states about a convention on the Caspian Sea legal regime.

Salehi went on to say that so far many meetings on the formulation of the convention have been held by the ministers and presidents of the five littoral states.

“An expert meeting on the issue is also scheduled to be held in Astana in the near future and we hope that the convention would yield good results,” he said.

Astana is looking forward to opening a new page in relations with Tehran

During his meeting with Salehi, Kazykhanov said his country is keen to promote regional and international cooperation with Iran in all areas.

He also emphasized the need to utilize the two countries’ potential to consolidate ties.

Salehi and Kazykhanov also discussed economic, cultural, and trade interactions during the meeting.

The Iranian foreign minister said that the annual volume of trade between Tehran and Astana currently stands at $1.2 billion and expressed hope that the two countries would be able to increase the figure to around $5 billion in the near future.

Salehi also commented on the joint project to connect the railways of Kazakhstan and Iran through Turkmenistan, saying that the new rail line is in the final stages of construction.

Kazykhanov said Iran is a good market for Kazakhstan’s wheat and can also play a major role in transiting its produce to other regional countries.

The Kazakh foreign minister also held talks with Iranian Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and a number of other high-ranking Iranian officials on Sunday.