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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Envoy Sees Caspian Deal

Russia and the other coastal states should be able to agree on the status of the Caspian Sea before the end of the year, presidential envoy Viktor Kalyuzhny said Monday.

Kalyuzhny, responsible for Caspian energy issues, has just returned from talks with Kazakh Prime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev.

"We can't drag things out any further because people, states, companies and investors are waiting for decisions," Kaluzhny told Ekho Moskvy radio.

The Caspian is landlocked and surrounded by Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan. Failure to resolve its division has delayed development of its resources.

Existing agreements on the Caspian were signed by Iran and the Soviet Union in 1921 and 1940 when they were the only two states vying for its oil and gas.

The five current coastal states cannot reach agreement on the division of the seabed, the surface of the water and the water itself.

A summit of the five states was due to be held last week in the Turkmen port of Turkmenbashi but was postponed at Iran's request. Turkmen President Sapamurat Niyazov said the meeting may be rescheduled for April, although no date has been set.

The Caspian's oil and gas reserves, estimated to be up to 15 billion tons, stand to become the major economic assets of some of the surrounding republics.