The Guardian 24 October, 2007

Teheran conference spikes US war plans

The conference held last week in Teheran was not only attended by the Presidents of Russia and Iran but also the leaders of three other states that have borders on the Caspian Sea. The countries of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan jointly signed a Teheran Declaration, stating that:

  • Only Caspian Sea littoral countries are allowed to use the resources of the Caspian Sea.

  • The Caspian Sea should only be used for peaceful purposes and any problems related to the sea should be resolved diplomatically by the littoral states.

  • All the Caspian nations agree that the sea’s issues should be settled exclusively by the littoral states, and only those countries should be allowed to deploy ships and military forces in the sea.

  • The sides reiterate that they will not let any country use their soil for a military attack against other littoral states.

  • The sides believe that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is one of the most important foundations of international peace and stability.

  • The sides confirm that all signatories to the NPT have the right to generate and utilise nuclear energy for peaceful purposes within the framework of the NPT and the International Atomic Energy Agency Statute.

    Russia has proposed building a canal as soon as possible to connect the Caspian Sea to the Black and Azov seas to help establish a North-South Corridor.

    No Caspian nation should offer its territory to third powers for use of force or military aggression against any Caspian state.

    The Caspian Sea littoral states will make efforts to reinforce peace, stability, economic development, and good neighbourliness in the region.

    The sides will have equal rights in international cooperation and are determined to boost relations in political, diplomatic, economic, scientific, technical, cultural, and social spheres.

    The sides will make attempts to efficiently utilise the Caspian Sea’s rich resources and expand economic cooperation, particularly in the energy and transportation areas.

    The sides will make efforts to develop mutual trust and reinforce regional security. They will also avoid using military force in mutual relations. The sides agree that they will never launch a military attack against any of the littoral states and will not let any country use their soil for a military attack against other littoral states.

    All the Caspian nations agree that the sea’s issues should be settled exclusively by the littoral states, and only those countries should be allowed to deploy ships and military forces in the sea, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad said in his address at the conference of the Littoral States.

    Caspian Sea rich resources

    Teheran leader, Ahmadinejad welcomed the presidents of the four other Caspian Sea states, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan, saying, "Iran is the second home of all of you, and your participation in this conference is a sign of unity, friendship, and good neighbourliness among our peoples and governments."

    The Caspian states are the only true owners of the sea, and currently there is a common understanding in the talks that makes all of the countries optimistic about their future and outcome, he added.

    Considering the great energy reserves in the area and the coastal countries’ facilities for transferring oil and gas, collective cooperation for exploration and transferal is the shortest and most economical way to use the energy, which will be in the best interests of all the littoral states, he pointed out.

    In his speech to the conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed issues pertaining to comprehensive security and stability in the region, including "security of navigation, the protection of oil and gas production facilities, and the joint campaign against international terrorism and extremism."

    Commenting on the draft declaration that was later adopted at the summit, he said, "We acknowledge the need to solve a number of key issues considering our interests and maintaining sovereignty and refraining from any use of force."

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