Caspian states meeting in Astana for sea status Legal Issues
Caspian states to gather in Astana for sea status
Caspian states will come together once again to discuss the legal status of the sea next summer in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.
Special Representative of the President of Russia on the delimitation and demarcation of the state border with CIS neighboring countries Igor Bratchik is optimistic about the upcoming summit.
“The last five-sided summit in Astrakhan in 2014, which policy statement has actually "knocked the skeleton" of the document, considering the base for multilateral cooperation on the Caspian Sea, has given the necessary impetus to the 20-year work on the formation of the Caspian Sea legal status,” Bratchik said.
The Russian expert noted a large number of provisions of the Convention have been agreed since the last summit, which allows to be optimistic about the future finalizing negotiations.
“A number of topics relating to specific issues of navigation mode, methods of constructing baselines for future national reference zones are underway,” he said.
Bratchik added that the signing of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea at the upcoming summit in Kazakhstan is possible in the presence of political will among the five Caspian states.
The Caspian Sea is unique body of water in many respects, and considering the largest inland body of water in the world. Its waters are salty, and the northern part of the Caspian freezes over for much of the year.
The Caspian Sea is significant for geographical position. The countries surrounding it, the resources within the sea and its strategic location in the middle of the Eurasian continent are the main factors that give the sea its true geopolitical importance.
During the Soviet Union, the Caspian Sea was practically an inland body of water within the boundaries of the USSR, and only on the south it washed the coast of Iran.
After three new independent states gained their independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 the number of littoral countries increased from two to five including Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Russia and Iran.
This has become the reason for the need to determine a new legal status of the Caspian Sea. which is a cause of dispute for five littoral states for over 20 years.
Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia signed an agreement on the delimitation of their respective Caspian maritime borders in 2003.
Once all Caspian states ratify the Agreement on Security Cooperation in the Caspian Sea, signed in 2010 in Baku, a new impetus will be given for close cooperation between the sides.
Up to now, the summits of the Caspian countries heads have been held in Ashgabat in 2002, Tehran in 2007, Baku in 2010 and Astrakhan in 2014.
Significant progress has been achieved in drafting a convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea in September 2014.