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Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan Exchange Barbs Over Disputed Oil Field

The former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan exchanged barbs over a disputed oilfield in the Caspian Sea.

Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry accused the Azeri Border Service of taking “illegal action” against a Turkmen civilian vessel carrying out seismic exploration in a Caspian section that “had nothing to do with Azerbaijan.”

In a statement released by the Turkmen embassy in the Azeri capital of Baku today, the ministry said Turkmenistan would take “adequate measures” if Azerbaijan continued the “provocations.”

In an e-mailed statement yesterday, the Azeri Foreign Ministry accused Turkmenistan of violating a 2008 agreement on suspending all exploration at the Kapaz field, also known as Serdar, before the dispute is resolved. It threatened to take “appropriate measures to defend Azerbaijan’s sovereign rights in the Caspian” if Turkmenistan didn’t stop.

The field, located on the border between the Azeri and Turkmen sections of the Caspian Sea, has been claimed by both countries after the disintegration of the former Soviet Union in 1991. The five littoral states, Russia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran, have failed to agree on the maritime boundaries of the sea despite extensive talks in the past 20 years.

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