TEHRAN – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has cautioned against the military presence of any non-littoral states in the Caspian Sea.
Zarif made the remarks during a meeting of the foreign ministers of Caspian Sea littoral states -- Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan -- in Moscow on Tuesday.
“Maintaining the Caspian Sea as a body of water of peace, friendship, and stability; refraining from (entering) an arms race; refraining from using the armed forces, and not (allowing) a military presence of non-littoral countries are the major prerequisites for guaranteeing peace and sustainable stability in the region,” Zarif said.
“Unfortunately, certain non-regional players regard the Caspian Sea as a source of oil and gas energy and ignore the other aspects, such as the fragile environment, living resources, and sustainable peace and stability,” he added.
He went on to say that the Caspian Sea, due to its exceptional geography and valuable resources, can serve to strengthen the relationship between the littoral states.
“We will make efforts to bequeath the Caspian Sea to the next generations just as we inherited it, transparent, pure, and safe,” Zarif added.
Zarif meets Lavrov
The Iranian foreign minister also held a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on the sidelines of the gathering, during which the two officials discussed a number of bilateral and regional issues.
Lavrov said the meeting prepared the ground for the two sides to expand their cooperation in a number of issues, such as Iran’s nuclear energy program, regional security, and Middle Eastern affairs.
The next summit of the heads of state of Caspian Sea countries is scheduled to be held in the Russian city of Astrakhan this fall.
The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed inland body of water on Earth by area, variously classed as the world’s largest lake or a full-fledged sea.