TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – The 47th meeting of the special working group of the Caspian Sea got underway in Tehran on Sunday.

Ranking diplomats from the five Caspian Sea littoral states –Iran, Russia, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan- have gathered for a 2-day meeting at the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Institute for Political and International Studies.

The working group’s sessions are part of efforts to draft the convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

Addressing Sunday’s meeting, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed the hope that “determination and goodwill” of leaders of the Caspian states would accelerate the process of drafting the convention.

Any initiative to finalize the Caspian Sea legal regime needs to take account of “peace, stability, sustainable development and fair demarcation of the marine boundaries,” Zarif said, stressing the need for protection of the Caspian Sea natural environment.

The minister also offered help to the Caspian littoral states to facilitate energy exports to world markets via Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.

The Caspian Sea is the largest enclosed water body on earth by area, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea.

The Caspian Sea Convention will determine the territorial rights of littoral states as well as other matters related to the world's largest landlocked body of water.

The Caspian Sea legal regime is based on two agreements signed between Iran and the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in 1921 and 1940. The three new littoral states, established after the collapse of the Soviet Union, have not recognized the prior treaties, triggering a debate on the future status of the sea.