Caspian Five to limit third party military forces in the region24 april 2014, 15:19
The Caspian Five include five countries that have access to the Caspian Sea: Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkmenistan.
On April 22, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian Five - Azerbaijan’s Elmar Mamedyarov, Iran’s Mohammad Javad Zarif, Kazakhstan’s Yerlan Idrissov and Turkmenistan’s Rashid Meredov - arrived in Moscow to discuss the upcoming 4th Caspian Summit to be held in Astrakhan, Russia in the fall this year.
“Regular conferences of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caspian Five are an effective mechanism of cooperation in the Caspian Sea region. The format of the conference relies heavily on the high level of trust and understanding in key issues of the Caspian policies. It also allows settling issues and reaching agreements on complex matters in an amicable atmosphere,” Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs told RIA Novosti.
The meeting focused on discussing demarcation of the Caspian Sea territorial waters and bottom lines. A draft Convention on Independence of Caspian Sea was also considered at the meeting.
All the Ministers agreed that "no countries outside the Caspian region should be allowed to affect decisions made about the Caspian Sea,” Kommersant wrote citing its diplomatic sources.
"This (independence of the Caspian Sea) concerns everything: security issues and setting of the requirements and standards governing the region," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov shared at the press-conference after the meeting.
The Caspian Five is widely anticipated to introduce limitation of the size of third party troops based in the area, as one of the measures to ensure its control of the Caspian Sea region. The new development is considered to be targeted specifically against the United States that is now withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan and is expected to draw out the process retaining a large force in the area, which is clearly not to Russia's liking.
However, Azerbaijan spoke against freedom of navigation on the Caspian Sea. Demarcation of the 25-mile national zone into territorial waters also remained an unsolved issue of the agenda.
Both this provisions are part of the presented draft Convention. so the draft is not going to be adopted in its current wording and more 'interesting' changes can be expected.
Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina