Russia, Iran, others debate how to split Caspian oil riches

TURKMENBASHI, Turkmenistan (AP) — The energy-rich Central Asian nation of Turkmenistan is hosting an economic forum intended to bolster cooperation between Caspian Sea nations.

Last year, leaders of the five countries along the Caspian Sea signed a convention aimed at ending decades-long uncertainty over exploitation of its resources.

The agreement between Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan establishes rules for declaring each country’s territorial waters and fishing zones, but the issue of dividing seabed that contains rich oil fields is subject to further negotiations.

Russia and Iran are yet to ratify last year’s agreement. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who attended yesterday’s forum in Turkmenistan, said that the ratification is expected “in the near future”.

Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri was non-committal, making no commitments in his speech at the forum.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev (L) and Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov speak, prior to a session of the First Caspian Economic Forum in Turkmenbashi, Turkmenistan yesterday. – AP