By Amina Nazarli
The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea is almost ready for signing.
Special Representative of the Russian President on the delimitation and demarcation of Russia's borders with the CIS countries, Ambassador-at-Large of the Russian Foreign Ministry Igor Bratchikov made the statement at the international economic forum "Caspian Dialogue" on April 14.
“To date, the Convention is almost ready and the absolute majority of provisions have been agreed upon.These provisions harmoniously balance the needs of all five parties, and do not infringe the national interests of any of the countries," he said. “Problems are getting fewer and there are only one or two left. We have really reached the home stretch and we have good chances to offer our leaders this document for signing in the foreseeable future.”
Bratchikov recalled that during the 4th Caspian summit, which took place in Austria in 2014, the leaders of the Caspian countries "have reached truly breakthrough agreements, creating the framework of the future Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea."
“The task then was set clear: complete work on this document by the next summit, which is to be held in Kazakhstan,” he said.
For his part, the Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Russia, Imangali Tasmagambetov recalled that "the Caspian is not only a place where the geopolitical and military-political interests of regional powers intertwine, but this is primarily a hub where the transcontinental routes of the Great Silk Road converge, connecting East and West."
Earlier on March 6, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, after talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov, said he expects the work on the Convention to be completed at the next meeting of foreign ministers of the Caspian countries.
Determining the legal status of the Caspian Sea has become one of the problematic issues among the five littoral states - Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan since demise of the Soviet Union.
The legal status have remained unsolved during the past two decades, preventing development and exploitation of its disputable oil and gas fields and creating obstacles to the realization of major energy projects.
The Caspian littoral states signed a Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea in November 2003.
Russia and Kazakhstan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the northern part of the Caspian Sea in order to exercise sovereign rights for subsoil use in July 1998. The two countries signed a protocol to the agreement in May 2002.
Moreover, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on the delimitation of the Caspian Sea and a protocol to it in November 2001, and February 2003, respectively.
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement on the delimitation of adjacent sections of the Caspian Sea on May 14, 2003.