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Nursultan Nazarbayev to attend Caspian Summit in Russia 25 сентября 2014, 14:44

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev will take part in the 4th Caspian Summit in Astrakhan, Russia on September 29.
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Illustration ©tengrinews Illustration ©tengrinews

President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev will take part in the 4th Caspian Summit that will be held in Astrakhan, Russia on September 29, Tengrinews reports.

President of Azerbaijan Ilkham Aliyev, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani, President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov will also attend.

They will discuss the existing and future cooperation among the five countries and the course of implementation of the decisions made at the previous summit in Baku in 2010.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and other presidents will have bilateral meetings with their foreign counterparts.

Russian Foreign Ministry hopes that the summit will achieve some progress in the area that the Presidents failed to agree on during the Baku Summit in 2010.

In particular, the countries need a consensus on the legal status of the Caspian Sea - to define whether it is a lake or a sea. They also need to establish water boundaries among the five Caspian states.

The Caspian Sea is called a sea because of its size, but it also has characteristics that technically make it a lake - it is landlocked and has no outflowing rivers. That is why the issue of the Caspian legal status is on the agenda.

Definition of the legal status is immediately linked to settlement of the 5 countries' boundaries in the Caspian Sea. And since the Caspian shelf is extremely reach in natural resources - 79 billion barrels of oil and 7 trillion cubic metres of natural gas - and its waters are reach with fish like sturgeons valued for its black caviar, the Caspian states are eager to make a good deal for themselves, which makes reaching a consensus extremely difficult.

If the Caspian Sea is given the status of a sea, then it is subject to the UN Convention on the Laws of Sea and the coastal states' shares of the sea will depend on the length of their coastal borders. Under the convention, each of the five Caspian states can claim territorial waters from their coastal line out to 12 nautical miles (22 km) where they will be able to set laws, regulate use and use fish, mineral and other resources. Vessels of other countries will be allowed "innocent passage" through the territorial waters, which means that they will not be allowed to fish, mine, pollute, practice weapons or spy in territorial waters of a foreign nation.

Iran is the prime opponent of this option, because it has the shortest part of the shoreline - only 13% of the total Caspian shoreline, which would make its territorial waters in the Caspian Sea the smallest of all five.

If the Caspian Sea is given the status of a lake, then the five coastal states would have to divide the Caspian resources and revenues they generate from using the Caspian Sea resources equally.

Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are developing oil and gas fields at the Caspian Sea, and sharing their hard-earned revenues with the other three countries would be a bad deal for them, which makes the two the prime opponents of the lake status for the Caspian Sea.

All five Caspian countries admit the need for settling the status issue, but with so many countries having strong reasons for opposing one option or another, the boundary settlement seems to be the realm of a distant future.

Writing by Assel Satubaldina, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina


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