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Russia pushing to shore up influence over Caspian Sea

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Russia has strengthened its influence over oil and gas exports from the Caspian region after a summit with the other four nations bordering the inland sea produced an outline agreement on the key principles to regulate maritime frontiers in the basin.

     "This is truly a breakthrough," Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the end of the summit on Sept. 29 in Astrakhan, southern Russia, where he met leaders from Iran, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

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