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President Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting to discuss problems of the Caspian region

April 25, 2002, Astrakhan

Regional heads of Russia, representatives of the Armed Forces, border guard officials, Cabinet members, and businessmen were present at the meeting.

Opening the meeting, the President pointed to the need to speed up the solution of transport problems in the Caspian area. He stressed this was an area of cooperation not only for the five states with Caspian coastlines, but also for many other countries whose goods passed through the region.

That was why, he said, it was necessary to carefully consider economic and technological conditions for the North-South transport corridor project.

Another problem that the President raised at the meeting was the environmental control of subsoil development.

He said the problem of poaching on the Caspian Sea had reached such a scale that it might be described as “bioterrorism”. In his address the President dwelt at length on the need to preserve the Caspian’s bio-resources, which account for 70% of world sturgeon stocks, 40% of which is fished in the Astrakhan Region. In the efforts against poaching, it was necessary to create new jobs and improve cooperation between the border service and fish protection agencies, the President noted.

April 25, 2002, Astrakhan