The leaders of five Caspian states did not sign on Wednesday the Ashkhabad declaration on the results of the summit held on April 23-24 in the Turkmen capital. Taking part in the summit were presidents of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. The discussion focused on determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea. President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev declared in this connection: "When we began studying the history of this issue, it turned out that there are more problems than we expected." Nazarbayev stressed that in the course of the summit a thorough exchange of opinions took place on the Caspian problem. The main thing is that "all those present openly and honestly expressed their stands", the Kazakh president noted. He also pointed out that experts from the five countries' foreign ministries will continue working on this issue. President of Azerbaijan Geidar Aliyev believes that the first meeting of the heads of five Caspian states "reached the set goal". Aliyev emphasised that for the first time five presidents of the Caspian states expressed their opinion in the round table discussion on the legal status of the Caspian Sea. This meeting created "a good basis for future negotiations," Aliyev said. Turkmen president Saparmurat Niyazov pointed out that none of the presidents of the five countries assumed responsibility for taking a decision to sign a document on the results of the summit.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea