‘Milestone event’: Five states sign historic deal on status of Caspian Sea

World       by Web Desk | Published

World by Web Desk | Published

Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Russian Federation met on the margins of Caspian Sea Littoral States Summit in Kazakhstan and discussed the most important bilateral, regional, and global issues.

The five leaders signed agreements on trade and economic cooperation, cooperation in the transport sector.

The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea has been signed at the Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau, Kazinform correspondent reports.

The leaders of the five states bordering the resource-rich Caspian Sea signed a landmark deal Sunday on the legal status of the inland sea which boasts a wealth of oil and gas reserves and sturgeon.

"We also indicated in this document that we have observed fairness and justice, although we have not determined the baseline in this convention, we stated that countries that have certain shores should also enjoy certain characteristics, which refers to the shores of the Islamic Republic of Iran".

Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan have tried to define the Caspian Sea's legal status since the collapse of the Soviet Union, in order to divide up the waters and its natural resources for new drilling and pipelines.

Ultimately, the Caspian will always be captive to the interests of the five littoral states and those five states, while often in agreement, have divergent interests in several important areas.

Five countries sign landmark convention on legal status of Caspian Sea after 20 years

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the convention "fixes the exclusive right and responsibility of our states for the fate of the Caspian Sea and establishes clear rules for its collective use", according to a Kremlin transcript.

Experts call the document signed by the five leaders "the constitution" of the Caspian Sea.

The Caspian Sea convention has been drawn up in 24 articles with the most important highlights being a ban on military presence of all foreign countries in the sea and transit of military consignments belonging to foreign countries.

Putin also praised this clause, saying it would help "ensure the peaceful status of the Caspian Sea".

The Caspian is believed to hold some 50 billion barrels of petrol and 300 000 billion cubic metres of natural gas. This was opposed by Kazakhstan, in particular, as the Kazakh corner of the Caspian has some of the richest oil and gas fields.

According to BBC, the new agreement finds a middle ground. The Trans-Caspian Pipeline (TCP), from Turkmenistan to Azerbaijan, has been opposed by both Russian Federation and Iran.

The Caspian basin is seen as an important source of oil for world markets outside the Middle East. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the document allowed pipelines to be laid as long as certain environmental standards were met.

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