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Nazarbayev calls Caspian Summit in Russia a breakthrough 30 сентября 2014, 15:32

Heads of Caspian littoral states have gathered in Russia and reached a number of important agreements.
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Presidents of Caspian littoral states from left to right: Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. ©RIA Novosti Presidents of Caspian littoral states from left to right: Azerbaijan, Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. ©RIA Novosti

Nursultan Nazarbayev has called the 4th Caspian Summit that took place in Russia’s Astrakhan a breakthrough, Tengrinews correspondent reports from the summit.

On September 29 the summit gathered Heads of State of all five Caspian Sea littoral states: President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, President of Russia Vladimir Putin, President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

"We have had very difficult negotiations, and I think that today there is a real breakthrough. We have conciliated our positions on key aspects of activities of the coastal countries of the Caspian Sea, and discussed a number of regional issues. The results of the Astrakhan summit, I am sure, will give a new impetus to continue moving [towards the adoption of] the main document - the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea," the President of Kazakhstan said.

Nazarbayev added that he was leaving the summit with an assurance that the Caspian Sea was “a sea of peace, friendship, a sea that will serve all the Caspian nations".

Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water, and is technically not a sea but a lake - it is landlocked has not outflowing rivers. This makes the applicability of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or other accepted international laws questionable. This is exacerbated by the enormous natural resources of the Caspian Sea shelf. Its proven reserves of hydrocarbons are second only to the Persian Gulf. In addition, the sturgeon valued for its luxurious black caviar that inhabits the Caspian Sea constitute 90% of all world stock. 

The five Caspian nations have long been unable to find a way of dividing the sea. International waters are usually not subject to demarcation and only coastal waters, which are within the so-called territorial sea (or territorial waters), are considered a territory of a particular state. 

President of Russia Putin who hosted the event noted that substantial progress in the preparation of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea was one of the most significant Astrakhan summit results. According to him, this was made possible by aligning the key principles of activities of the littoral countries.

"These principles have been recorded in the political statement that has just been signed by the presidents of the five countries. It will be a cornerstone of the Convention. Not to say that all issues have been fully resolved but their number is now much smaller," Putin said.

The political statement includes a fundamental principle of stability and security: it is exclusively the armed forces of the coastal countries that have the right to stay in the Caspian Sea.

In addition, Putin specified that the talks finally allowed reaching clear formulations of delimitation of water areas, the sea bottom, the subsoil, as well as navigation and fishing regimes.

The President of Russia said the agreement was to retain the largest part of the Caspian Sea in the common use of all five countries.

"There is every reason to believe that in the near future we will sign the convention, thus successfully completing the work that has been going on for 18 years," Putin stressed.

"Thanks to all this, misunderstandings or some tensions in the international relations, which previously could appear due to different interpretations of the regime of the Caspian waters, are now eliminated," Putin said. 

He added that experts were tasked with intensifying consultations on the few remaining issues.

Nazarbayev said that the countries agreed to hold the next Caspian summit in Kazakhstan.

Reporting by Renat Tashkinbayev, writing by Dinara Urazova


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