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Ecology Ministry says no agreements reached on redirecting course of River Araz

20 November 2012 [18:34] - TODAY.AZ
There are no agreements on redirecting the course of the River Araz to Lake Urmia, the Azerbaijani Deputy Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Firdovsi Aliyev said on Tuesday.

Azerbaijan itself suffers from a lack of water and in this regard the government acts on the basis of national interests.

"Azerbaijan has joined a number of international conventions in the environmental field and in this issue the country will act according to the requirements of these conventions. Since this is a political issue, the Ministry of Ecology and Natural Resources passed its proposals to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry," the deputy minister said.

The use of the waters of the River Araz to fill the shrinking Lake Urmia in Iran will have a negative impact on the environment of Azerbaijan, " the chairman of the State Committee of Land and Cartography Garib Mammadov told Trend on Tuesday.

Changing the course of the River Araz cannot be a topic for discussion, he said. It will negatively affect the areas along the river both from an environmental and agricultural point of view.

"Azerbaijan's water reserves are scarce, so a complete change of water course or reduction will significantly affect the regions located along the river" Garibov said.

Azerbaijan's position on this issue is clear and concrete, he said.

In 2010, during a visit of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and members of the government to Tabriz, the project on directing 600 million cubic meters of water from the River Araz into Lake Urmia was approved. Allocation of some $1.2 billion was planned for this project. In September 2011, the Iranian government allocated $ 900 million for this purpose.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has allocated $ 135 million to Iran to address environmental issues of the shoaling Lake Urmia.


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