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Monday, 16 October 2017 18:00

Russia highlights its positions regarding the Caspian status Featured

Russia highlights its positions regarding the Caspian status

Addressing the panel session held in Sochi within the framework of the World Festival of Youth and Students, Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov said that before the start-up of pipelines construction in the Caspian it is important to understand the environmental impact than can arouse from it, APA’s Russian bureau reports. “Unlike the Black Sea, the marine environment in the Caspian Sea is very fragile and it is necessary to thoroughly assess the impact of these projects on the environment”, Lavrov emphasized.

It is noteworthy that the Convention about the legal status of the Caspian Sea is expected to be signed in 2018. “Russia is now activating its foreign policy in terms of the Caspian. Those who track the news, see that this issue is addressed both in the negotiations of our President and negotiations of the Foreign Affairs Minister, when they meet their counterparts from the Caspian states”, RF MFA Ambassador at Large Igor Bratchikov stated at the Caspian media forum held in Astrakhan late in September.

According to the Ambassador at large, one of the goals of the current meeting is to sum up the long-lasting negotiations about the legal status of the Caspian Sea.

“We expect the Convention to be signed in Kazakhstan next year”, he said and noted that interests of the Russian entities would be taken into account while signing the document.

It bears reminding that speaking about the solution of the Caspian status, Foreign Affairs Minister of Azerbaijan said: “We reached an agreement with Russia and Kazakhstan about a median line. Iran and Turkmenistan state that the counting should be different, offer to change some coordinates.  Yes, the median line is used as a principle. But in general, new issues arise when we go into details: like from where we shall start counting the median line”, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said in his interview with RIA Novosti, noting that Kazakhstan has also reached agreement with Turkmenistan over its median line. Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan have some issues to address, while Kazakhstan only has to solve a matter of a junction point between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

Before the fifth summit of 2018 starts it is necessary to find solution for 4 issues including laying of communication lines along the Caspian Sea bed, navigations, transit and determination of the procedure of the bottom delimitation. Diplomats have scheduled a number of working meetings for it whereafter foreign affairs ministers will have to gather to fix the date of the 5th summit, Kazakhstani Media reported. It should be noted that as early as two years ago any attempts of the Brussels to start the negotiations with the Caspian gas producers faced the tough position of Moscow. As Sergey Lavrov stated: “Our partners from the EU are simply pressing the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project upon Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, ignoring the fact that such issues have to be solved by the Caspian states but not in Brussels”.

The first summit of the Caspian littoral countries was held on April 23-24, 2002 in Ashgabat, resulting with no serious progress in defining the status of the Caspian Sea. Then the four countries proposed to divide the sea along a middle line, while Iran insisted on dividing the basin into equal parts.

At the same time Turkmenistan proposed a 20-mile zone in the center of the Caspian Sea for free navigation.

At the same time Turkmenistan proposed a 20-mile zone in the center of the Caspian Sea for free navigation.

In August 2007, the Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian entered into force. It followed signing the protocols to the Convention on regional readiness, response and cooperation in the case of incidents causing oil pollution, on protection of the Caspian Sea from pollution from land-based sources and as a result of land-based activities, on conservation of biological diversity.

In October 2007, the summit was held in Tehran.

During the summit the sides voiced the following agreements: only ships under the flags of the Caspian states receive the right to navigate in the Caspian Sea; only five countries with the access to the Caspian Sea can take part in the negotiations on the Caspian Sea status. In addition, at the summit the sides took the decision to host meetings of the heads of the Caspian states on an annual basis.

At the third summit in Baku in 2010 the sides settled one of the key issues in the regulation of the legal status of the Caspian Sea: the width of the “national belt” was set at 24 miles. Moreover, the sides agreed to work out final principles for delimitation of the Caspian Sea by the next (2011) year.

The fourth summit hosted in Astrakhan in September 2015 proved to be a breakthrough one, anyway the leaders of Kazakhstan and Russia regarded its results as such. The leaders of the five Caspian littoral countries agreed the principles of national sovereignty of each of the five countries over the coastal maritime space within 15 miles and 10 “fishing” miles. The Russian President said: “The provision according to which the major part of the Caspian Sea water area shall remain in the common use of the sides is very important”. “Thanks to all this now there are no misunderstandings or any tension in the interstate relations that could have appeared earlier because of different interpretations of the regime of the Caspian waters”, he said.

 

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