Russia Supports Setting up a Caspian Bloc / News / News agency Inforos
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Russia Supports Setting up a Caspian Bloc

"Russia supports creating an operative coordination group in the Caspian Sea basin like the "BlackSeaFor" group existing in the region of the Black Sea. The objective of this group would be to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, fight terrorism and organized crime", said Alexander Golovin, Special Envoy of the Russian Foreign Ministry, head of the workgroup for the Caspian Sea problem.

The subject of setting up a Caspian Sea bloc has been on the agenda since last year. In particular, Viktor Kaliuzhny, Special Representative of Russia's President for Problems of the Caspian Sea, stated that, considering the intentions of certain countries, extraneous to this region, to establish their military presence in the region, Moscow was planning to deploy modern weapons and rapid reaction forces in the Caspian region.

According to V. Kaliuzhny, despite the existing differences among the pre-Caspian countries, there was some progress in defining the legal status of the Caspian Sea. In the event that a meeting of the heads of state and foreign ministers of the pre-Caspian counties does take place, the defining of the Caspian Sea legal status would get the required impetus.

At the end of November 2004, deputy commander of the US Army in Europe general Charles Vold declared in Baku that in January 2004 the US would start implementing in Azerbaijan a project that would deal with "the security in the region of the Caspian Sea". The general went on to say that the model to be realized in the Azerbaijan national sector of the Caspian Sea envisaged setting up a mechanism for the control of the appropriate underwater and offshore space. It was proposed to speedily supply the information obtained to US military command, he added.

The agreement on the creation of the "BlackSeaFor" navy operative coordination group had been signed in Istanbul in 2001 by the six pre-Caspian states – Bulgaria, Georgia, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.

"BlackSeaFor" has been called upon to carry out search and rescue operations at sea, provide humanitarian aid and environment protection, clear mines. It can also take part in UN and OSCE actions, provided all the "BlackSeaFor" member states agree. An international headquarters has been formed to run the group.

Joint exercises of the group members have been practiced since 2002.
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