Caspian states sign environmental deal

Dec. 14, 2012 at 8:15 AM

MOSCOW, Dec. 14 (UPI) -- The U.N. environment agency announced Caspian Sea littoral states signed off on additional coastal safeguards given regional energy growth.

The U.N. Environment Program announced countries bordering the Caspian Sea -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan -- signed off in Moscow on the Protocol for the Protection of the Caspian Sea against Pollution from Land-based Sources and Activities, known as the LBSA Protocol.

UNEP described the agreement as an important step for environmental protection pollution emanating from land-based activity in the agricultural and industrial sectors.

"This resulted in increasing cooperation among the five Caspian states and comes at a crucial time when the Caspian region is witnessing unprecedented growth in oil and gas exploration, exploitation and transportation," the agency said in a statement.

Countries bordering the Caspian Sea are some of the most energy-rich in the world. European countries have expressed interest in Azeri resources in particular. Natural gas from there could help supply the Southern Corridor of transit projects meant to add diversity to a European economy that relies on Russian gas supplies.

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