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Iran’s Ahmadinejad to visit Azerbaijan

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will pay an official visit to Baku to attend the upcoming Caspian Sea summit and to discuss relations with Azeri officials.

President Ahmadinejad will leave Tehran for Baku for a two-day visit on Wednesday.

During his stay, President Ahmadinejad is scheduled to meet top Azeri officials including President Ilham Aliyev to discuss bilateral cooperation particularly in economic sectors.

The Iranian head of state will also attend the summit of the Caspian Sea.

Iran’s Ambassador to Baku Mohammad Baqer Bahrami said on Saturday that the visit, which came at the invitation of Aliyev, was aimed at establishing security in the region as well as developing ties between the two countries.

Bahrami expressed hope that any decision on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea would take into consideration the 1921 and 1940 treaties between Iran and the Soviet Union and that decisions concerning the Caspian Sea would be based on a consensus and unilateral measures would be avoided.

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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