TODAY.AZ / Politics

Caspian convention to bring littoral states' co-op to new level: deputy minister

15 February 2019 [11:19] - TODAY.AZ

By Azernews

By Leman Mammadova

The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea will allow the energy cooperation of the Caspian states to reach a new, higher level, Deputy Energy Minister of Russia Anatoly Yanovsky said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

He said that Russia is ready to cooperate with all four countries of the region, including Azerbaijan.

“We already have positive experience of working together with Azerbaijani partners,” he noted. “Since the end of the 1990s, the Russian company Lukoil has been participating in a consortium to develop Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field in the Caspian Sea. The company’s share in the project is 10 percent.”

The deputy minister added that the value of investments for the entire period of participation in the consortium reached more than $2 billion.

“We have always focused on the development of cooperation, on the implementation of new projects, including in the development of hydrocarbon resources of the Caspian Sea,” he said. “The signing of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, of course, opens up new perspectives that are yet to be worked out.”

The first meeting of the High Level Working Group on the Implementation of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea with the participation of representatives of the littoral states will be held in Baku on February 19-20.

The Caspian Convention establishes exclusive rights and responsibilities of the five littoral states on the fate of the unique water basin.

Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea, the so-called "Constitution" of the Caspian Sea, was signed in August at the fifth Summit of Heads of the Caspian littoral states in Aktau, after 22 years of systematic talks.

Convention gives Caspian "a special legal status" - it was declared neither lake nor sea. If viewed as a sea, the Caspian basin would be subject to the International Maritime Law, and rights to use the Caspian Sea wouldn't be limited to the coastal countries. This is definitely against the interests of Russia and Iran in the region. On the other hand, as a lake, its area would be divided equally between the five countries, and this leads to controversy in the distribution of hydrocarbon reserves.

According to the Convention, water surface remains in common use for all coastal countries, with states granted jurisdiction over 15 nautical miles of water from their coasts and fishing rights over an additional ten miles.

The seabed, rich in natural resources, is divided between neighboring countries in accordance with international law, based on the agreement of the neighboring states.

The provision on the inadmissibility of third-party armed forces in the Caspian Sea can be regarded as one of the key points of the Convention.

The convention also permits the construction of pipelines, which only require the approval of the countries whose seabed they pass. At the same time, such projects should comply with environmental safety.

The signing of the Convention has been regarded as a triumph of multilateral diplomacy by the international community and the world media.

The Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea contributes to the strengthening of stability and predictability in relations between the Caspian countries, as well as creation of favorable conditions for expansion of mutually beneficial cooperation.

The cooperation between Caspian states based on convention is expected to accelerate energy projects, allowing the implementation of the Trans-Caspian Pipeline that is the most crucial one.


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