MOSCOW, August 12. /Basereporter.com/. Russian President Vladimir Putin at the invitation of President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev sent on Sunday in Kazakhstan, where in the city of Aktau will host the fifth Caspian summit, reported the press service of the Kremlin. The leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan will consider key aspects of cooperation in the Caspian region in various fields, will discuss the implementation of decisions taken at previous meetings of the heads of States of the “Caspian five”. However, the key event of the meeting would be the signing of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian sea, which was conducted in 1996.
“The Central event will be the signing at the highest level of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian sea, which was conducted in 1996”, – said the press service.
Dialogue in the format of “Caspian five” is conducted on a regular basis. The first such summit was held on 23-24 April 2002 in Ashkhabad, the second – October 16, 2007 in Tehran, the third – November 18, 2010 in Baku, the fourth – 29 September 2014 in Astrakhan.
As recalled in the Kremlin, at the Astrakhan summit was signed a fundamentally important Statement by the presidents on the principles of cooperation of the parties in the Caspian sea. “Thanks to the collective efforts of the littoral States the Caspian region is developing consistently and without conflict, – said the press service of the Russian leader. – Relations between the littoral countries are characterized by a high level of trust and understanding on key issues of cooperation, atmosphere of friendship and good neighborliness.”
However, the question of the status of the Caspian sea has a long history. During Soviet times, the development of the Caspian sea was regulated by Soviet-Iranian treaties of February 26, 1921 and March 25, 1940. They included the freedom of navigation throughout the waters of the seas and freedom of fishing (the principle of “common water”), with the exception of 10-mile national fishing zones, but not regulating the issues of subsoil use, military activities and transit through the Caspian sea, protection of the natural environment. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the increasing number of coastal States in the Caspian sea arose the need for a new legal status of this land-locked body of water, having no natural connection with the ocean, and therefore not subject to international conventions on Maritime law.
Caspian had different positions on the delimitation of the bottom of the reservoir, but also in the territorial jurisdiction of large hydrocarbon deposits offshore. Thus, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan had proposed to delimit the Caspian sea by the method of “modified median line” (line, every point of which is equidistant from the respective nearest points on the coasts of these States). Iran insisted on preservation of the Caspian sea in common use on the principle of the condominium, avoiding the creation of five equal sectors (20%) and while speaking out strongly against the conclusion of bilateral agreements on the Caspian sea. Russia, in turn, supported the delineation of mineral resources and the Caspian sea, but was against the division of its waters as this would require a radical revision of the prevailing over the past 70 years mode of economic use of water.
The result of 22 years
Work associated with the signing of the Convention on the legal status of the Caspian sea began in 1996, when the decision of foreign Ministers of the five Caspian States was formed a Special working group (JWG) at the level of Deputy foreign Ministers. In Aktau is planned to take stock of the implementation of the decisions of the previous summits, identify development priorities in the framework of the “Caspian five” for the period until the next meeting in this format. “Long-term work of the negotiators and experts allowed to prepare carefully verified the text, reflecting the balance of interests of all participants”, – noted in the Kremlin. The draft document was finalised in the meeting of foreign Ministers of the Caspian States on 4-5 December 2017 in Moscow. According to the head of the Ministry of foreign Affairs, Sergei Lavrov, the fact that the adoption of the Convention will be a great breakthrough because of “the Caspian five” will receive “a steady legal base, allowing to reach a higher level of interaction.”
Ahead of the summit, the Kremlin announced the details contained in the prepared for signature document. So, according to the Convention, the main area of the water surface of the Caspian sea remains in the common use of the sides and the bottom and the subsoil are divided neighbouring States on areas of agreement between them on the basis of international law. Shipping, fishing, scientific research and the laying of pipelines is carried out according to agreed rules. When implementing a large-scale Maritime projects must include an environmental factor. The Convention also fixes the position to prevent the presence in the Caspian sea of the armed forces of extraregional powers, defines five Caspian States are responsible for maintaining safety at sea and the management of its resources.
The signing of the documents
The materials for the upcoming visit of Putin in Aktau, prepared by the press service of the President, also said that the strengthening of economic relations will become another hot topic on the agenda. In this context, it is expected the signing of two five-sided intergovernmental agreements. The three agreements concern cooperation in the field of transport, trade and economic cooperation in the field of avoidance of incidents on the Caspian sea. These documents define the strategy for the joint development of key sectors of the Caspian economies, the harmonization of technological and administrative processes in the conduct of international trade and transport. It also aims to increase trade volumes and to turn the Caspian sea into one of the most effective in Eurasia nodes of multimodal transport routes.
The planned signing of three protocols to the agreement on cooperation in the field of security in the Caspian sea dated November 18, 2010, relating to the fight against organized crime, terrorism and cooperation of border agencies of the Caspian States. After the meeting, will issue a communiqué of the fifth Caspian summit.
Great importance is attached to conservation of biodiversity of the Caspian sea, where, in particular, constitutes 90% of the world reserves of sturgeon fish species. According to the results of the IV Caspian summit held in 2014 in Astrakhan, formed an intergovernmental Commission for conservation, rational use of water biological resources of the Caspian sea and the management of shared stocks. The Commission annually determines fishing quotas and makes recommendations for the rules of the fishery. In recent years, declared a zero quota on commercial fishing of sturgeon in the Caspian sea. By voluntary restraint five riparian countries seek to restore the population of Caspian sturgeon.
Where will V Caspian summit
The summit will be held in the city of Aktau in the House of friendship, which was commissioned this year. In the future, in the House of friendship will be located state institution “Kogamdyk kelisim” (“Social cohesion”), 20 ethnic-cultural associations of the region, the regional Council of mothers, the scientific expert group of the Assembly of people of Kazakhstan of Mangistau region and the regional Council of veterans.
“August 12 will begin a press-the centre where are created all necessary conditions for comfortable and fruitful work to all representatives of the media. Today at the summit about 400 accredited journalists from Kazakhstan and other countries of the Caspian “five”, as well as from Britain, France, China, Germany, Spain, Turkey and others”, – said the head of the press service of the foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan Aibek Madiyarov.
On 10 August in Aktau took place the final 52-th meeting of the AHWG for the negotiation of a Convention on the legal status of the Caspian sea at the level of Deputy foreign Ministers of the Caspian States. The negotiations were attended by delegations of Azerbaijan, Iran, Republic of Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan. At the meeting of the AWG, the parties summed up the results of work on preparation of documents for the fifth Caspian summit and discussed and agreed the agenda for the Meeting of foreign Ministers of the Caspian States.