Source Pravda.Ru

Russian, Ukrainian Premiers to hold talks on dam construction in Kerch strait

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will hold talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich in Moscow on Friday, October 24. The construction of a dam in the Strait of Kerch will dominate the negotiations.

On that same day a group of deputies of the State Duma (the lower chamber of the Russian parliament) intends to fly to the area of the construction of the dam to familiarize itself with the situation on the spot.

By today the construction of the dam near Tuzla spit in the Kerch Strait was halted on the order of the governor of the Krasnodar Territory.

As Ukrainian president Leonid Kuchma stated at a press conference in Kerch, Ukraine comes out for division of the water surface and seabed of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait along the border which existed in the U.S.S.R. time, and is categorically against attaching a status of a common-use territory to the Sea of Azov.

Head of the international affairs committee of the State Duma Dmitry Rogozin recalled that the talks on the status of the Azov Sea and Kerch Strait have already been going on for about a decade.

In the deputy's opinion, on the part of the Ukrainian side we witness "an attempt to usurp an exclusive right to control the Kerch Strait." The Russian parliamentarian proposed the sole, in his opinion, possible variant to settle the issue: the Kerch Strait must be a strait of common use. The questions of security, nature protection and economy must be decided jointly by Russia and Ukraine while the Azov Sea must be both Russia and Ukraine's internal waters.

On the day before Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, commenting on the situation, called for not fanning up passions around the construction of the dam in the Azov-Kerch water area by Russia, and for giving the two countries' diplomats a chance to continue the talks in a calm atmosphere.