TODAY.AZ / Politics

Caspian states search for mutually acceptable solutions on legal status

11 July 2017 [18:00] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews


By Amina Nazarli

The debate over the legal status of the Caspian Sea continues for over two decades. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the five littoral states have not yet agreed is it a sea, or is it a lake?

The outcome of this debate will have a major impact on the way oil and gas resources are extracted and exported, particularly with regard to the establishment of Trans-Caspian energy corridors, from Central Asia to Europe. The debate also left many oil and natural gas fields underdeveloped in the sea and obstacles its environmental protection.

The 50th meeting of the special working group on the development of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea at the level of deputy foreign ministers of the Caspian states is scheduled for September in Iran.

At the meeting, the Caspian countries - Azerbaijan, Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan- will continue to search for mutually acceptable decisions on the adoption of an agreed document defining the legal status of the Caspian, a diplomatic source told Trend.

The parties intend to submit agreed proposals for the 5th summit of heads of state to be held this year in Kazakhstan.

The Caspian states signed a Framework Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Caspian Sea in November 2003 and today most of the issues on the draft Convention have been agreed upon, and negotiations are underway on the remaining issues.

Deputy Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Khalaf Khalafov, who will represent the country at the talks, previously said that the states plan to sum up all the works for the final coordination of the draft Convention in order to make it ready for signing of the states’ leaders.

The last meeting of the ad hoc working group on the elaboration of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea at the level of deputy foreign ministers of the Caspian states was held in Ashgabat on June 1-2.

The delegations discussed the remaining uncoordinated provisions of the draft Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea.  Following the negotiations, a number of provisions of the draft Convention were agreed upon. Delegations positively assessed the outcome of the talks.

Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan hold to the principle of dividing into national sectors based on the “median line” principles since it is an international boundary lake, and leaving the sea surface for general use, i.e. they are for demarcation of mineral resources and the Caspian Sea shelf, but against dividing up its waters. 

Iran seeks an equal division of the Caspian into 5 even sectors, mainly because most of the offshore energy resources are located away from the Iranian coastline. Turkmenistan also demands the division of the Sea into equal parts between the pre-Caspian countries so that each country has 20 percent of the sea.

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.

URL: http://www.today.az/news/politics/163081.html

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