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Iran urges better ties with Azerbaijan

As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is on an official two-day visit to Azerbaijan, he calls on Baku to stand by Tehran on international developments.

“Iran and Azerbaijan have good relations and there is no obstacle for the expansion of ties between the two countries,” IRNA quoted President Ahmadinejad as saying in a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev on Wednesday.

“The two countries have so far held positive talks on international developments and issues of mutual interests. We appreciate brave positions of the Azeri president,” he added.

Aliyev, for his part, highlighted the significance of President Ahmadinejad’s visit to Azerbaijan and praised his country’s growing relations with the Islamic Republic.

He said mutual ties are based on “friendship” and expressed hope that Tehran and Baku would make further efforts to promote cooperation in political, economic, energy and transportation fields.

After private talks between presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki and his Azeri counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov signed a document on consolidation of bilateral cooperation in the areas of transportation and energy.

The Iranian chief executive arrived in the Azeri capital of Baku on Wednesday to attend the third meeting of the leaders of Caspian littoral states in order to negotiate the legal regime of the sea and to discuss relations with Azeri officials.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed body of water on earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea.

The maritime and seabed boundaries of the Caspian Sea have yet to be demarcated among Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan — the five countries bordering the sea.

Despite extensive negotiations, the legal status of the Caspian Sea has been unclear since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The Caspian Sea legal regime is based on two agreements signed between Iran and the Soviet Union in 1921 and 1940.

Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan — the three new littoral states, established after the collapse of Soviet Russia — do not recognize the prior treaties, triggering a debate on the future status of the sea.

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